The (Irish) linen memorial soundscape: a gathering of names

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Presentation Title:

  • The (Irish) linen memorial soundscape: a gathering of names

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Abstract:

  • Artists Statement

    The intention with the installation is to give visitors to The (Irish) Linen Memorial – a dedication to those killed as a result of The Troubles (hereafter referred to as The Memorial) – an experience designed to exploit a psychological phenomenon known as the ‘cocktail party’ effect, achieved through the delivery of almost 4000 names of the dead (hereafter referred to as The Names List) within a relatively short timeframe, approximately twenty minutes. Lycia Trouton’s memorial is that of an intervention of a ‘modest witness’ and is created in the medium of an historically iconic Northern Irish and globally traded, product, namely linen. This paper is about the 2009 digitization of The Memorial, with a new Soundscape, based solely on a reading of The Names List of those killed in the conflict. The Memorial is finally being used, as has been my intention since its inception almost a decade ago, to illustrate both a) serious public talking points which reference current political issues in post-conflict Northern Ireland, and b) the promotion of healing from trauma.

    For example, this past month, Belfast’s Patrick Corrigan, Programme Director of Amnesty International, blogger and micro-blogger, illustrated his article on ‘Truth versus Justice’ with a photograph of The Memorial and a digital version of The Memorial was unveiled in The Canada Room, Queens University, Belfast, for the third ‘annual’ Day of (Private) Reflection, June 21st to over sixty visitors, with the opening speech by journalist-broadcaster, Rowan Hand and Martin Dunphy, a grassroots activist, and former member of The Peace People, from the mid-1970s.

    This paper describes a new immersive, interactive sculptural installation as experienced with The Soundscape. This eight-channel soundscape uses a completely randomized Names List and is based upon contemporary auditory spatial localization research. This installation version helps fulfil the experience of visitors who come to the memorial in search of a loved one’s name. The paper is in two parts: a description of the material culture of The Memorial and The Soundscape, and both works as based on art-sound concepts underpinning contemporary immersive-interactive sculptural installation.


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