Abstract: Art and Geopolitical Borders: contested sovereignty and art practice, MMU, Home, Manchester 2015 Title: Landscape, Liminality and Lament
Ongoing research project. Ann Carragher
“A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary” (Anzaldua 2007)
My current visual research explores the overlapping and interwoven histories of the landscape in and around the ‘South Armagh/ Louth Border’ (close to the town of Newry, Northern Ireland, where I grew up). This area is also known as and referred to as ’Gap of the North’ and ‘Bandit Country’. Steeped in history and trauma, the political, physical landscape of the area, active and heroic, is well documented and memorialized. Strategically the area was very important as it marked the route into the Kingdom of Ulster, and the Hill of Faughart was the scene of many important battle.
I return to ‘record and memorialize’, documenting and focusing on the ‘passive, personal and intimate’. As within this border area, with its bloody and turbulent past exist ‘sacred places’ of prayer and pilgrimage. These are explored through my Fine Art/ interdisciplinary practice (moving image displayed inside ‘watch towers/bird hides’). This particular border area became the ‘expanded space for observation’ engaging in the found cultural context of ‘spaces/places’ suspended between past, present and future.
The research crosses various boundaries and is relative to numerous ‘typologies’. The influential roles of memory, psychology and religion are interwoven in the topography of this fascinating and ‘liminal’ rural landscape. The ‘liminal’ relates to issues regarding Hauntology & Post Conflict Resolution, as the sense of suspicion, paranoia and surveillance is only too evident. The research deals with issues of cultural politics ‘enduring attachment’ (Diaspora), Trauma and Memory, (residual and suspended trauma).