Happy 2021! Here’s to the scientific magic of the vaccine, and being able to meet and brush up off of each other again!
I’m delighted that “Lucia Joyce: Full Capacity”‘s first twirl in the new year will be at Rejkavik Feminist Film Festival, January 14 – 17th. Alas the film will have to go on its own due to “THE VIRUS”, but we are happy to share it in our absence. Though I am dying to get to Rejkavik, especially since seeing all of my brilliant friend Yael Farber’s posts from there, where she is directing a theatre production of Elena Ferrante’s “My Brilliant Friend”.
Thanks are also due in the meantime to the Arts Council of Ireland for a Professional Development Award, to help develop a few more future projects. So watch this space!
Also I enjoyed being part of Fundit.ie’s last crowdfunding webinar of the year last month, here is a link in case of interest!
I also would like to thank MexIndex.ie for including our film in their prestigious 2020 screening “Displacements” last month, and for curator Richard Ashrowan’s brilliant accompanying text. Here is an excerpt pertaining to Lucia Joyce: FULL CAPACITY:
“In making this selection from the works submitted for the MExIndex 2020 Screening, my approach was one of looking for associations, as if searching for a common language in the traces of overheard conversation between one work and another. As each of the works began to speak in their myriad ways, some seemed also to begin to orbit around the central idea of displacement, and it was this theme that in turn became my guiding principal for the final selection.
To think of this word, displacement, conjures within us a penumbra of meanings, places and peoples, a network of relations ever expanding out from its centre. Perhaps we can just enter into this space for a moment, to sweep our eyes across this landscape of associations? We might first think of refugees, of forced migrations, the immigrant experience, the crossing of boundaries, camps, and exile. Displacement is often a foundational experience for the Irish diaspora, and for all the myriad diasporic communities scattered across the globe. Liminal spaces open up before us, a sense of the distance between one and another. We find displacement activated between self and other, in the negotiation of difference, across time and space, of identity, language, and place.
Returning to the centre of the word, displacement is a movement, but it is a movement involving forces that act upon us, it has a past to reckon with, and there are consequences to face. To be displaced, or to displace oneself, is to carry the knowledge of where we have been displaced from, of the space we have left behind, and of the novelty of where we find ourselves now. Displacement is rooted in a known history, and it projects itself toward an unknowable future. It contains an implicit sense of threat to notions of belonging and identity, it evokes nostalgia. What are we being displaced by, and what are we in turn displacing? Has that space we once occupied now been filled by someone or something else? Are the forces that acted upon us kind or cruel? The word has further connotations of quantity and degree: we can measure the displacement of an object as it is moved from one medium to another, yet we may not so easily measure the volume of our psychological losses and gains.
Do the artists in this programme perhaps speak out most clearly from between these cracks? In the fissures between one state and another, between one identity and another, from a position of belonging but not belonging? Is a sense of displacement within the artist and their work a necessary creative strategy for these times? If we loosen ourselves from the constraints of fixed identity, from language, place or nationality, there can certainly be a radical reclaiming of agency and liberation. The artist displaces their sense of place for a different sense of in-between-ness, and a new position of critical distance emerges. To be able to consciously occupy that space betwixt and between can be a form of creative empowerment. Yet we must acknowledge that displacement has equally been employed for oppression and exclusion. In considering any form of displacement, the question of where the agency lies must come first. Is it wilfully entered into, or forced upon us?
I chose the films for this programme in part for their thematic relationships, but equally for how well they demonstrated an understanding of the moving image as fundamentally a medium of displacement. Both time and place are displaced into the moving image, opening the creative possibility for recombining them in new ways. These films all use various strategies to rupture linear time, to locate and dislocate, to break the normal perceptual relationships between place and memory, past and present, image, sound and text. It is in these acts of displacement that new meaning is made. The power of the moving image is that we also displace something of ourselves into a film as viewers: entering into the artist’s perceptual field, we might also begin to feel what they feel. So a further consideration in the selection was related to each film’s capacity to approach their subjects with a certain indirectness, how much space they left for the viewer to enter with their own thoughts and feelings. In turn, I hope this selection will further help us reflect on the position of the artist in relation to their own distinctions of place, memory, identity, and belonging.
In Deirdre Mulrooney’s Lucia Joyce: FULL CAPACITY, we see the dancer Evanna Lynch re-imagining a dance performance, based on a 1928 photograph of Lucia Joyce taken by Berenice Abbott. Lucia was the daughter of James Joyce and experienced a very particular kind of erasure, her artistic career ending in forced incarceration in a psychiatric asylum, where she spent most of her later adult life. The backstory here is tragic and compelling, yet even this stark and oversimplified re-telling performs a secondary erasure. The story displaces Lucia Joyce’s own achievements, the ten years of her life and art dedicated to professional practice as a dancer. What Mulrooney creates within her film is not another re-telling of this deadening narrative, but a living re-inscription of Lucia Joyce, her body vitally reconstituted in celebration of her creative life. Lynch, as a dancer, displaces the erasure, her own body in place of the absented body of Joyce. For Mulrooney, “the female body has always been displaced and disenfranchised in 20th century Irish culture.” In reckoning with the multiple narratives of female displacement within her film, Mulrooney is also reflecting upon her own female identity within Irish culture. Born in Canada to Irish parents, she was sent back to Ireland, where she says she experienced not quite alienation, but that she felt “slightly at an angle.” This is a subtle shift in point of view, forging an ability to glance sideways into the gaps between places and cultures, between histories and actualities.
Read the full text here.
Power to the People, SAFE and HAPPY NEW YEAR! Bring on the vaccine and a time when we can all meet again XO