Thursday, 20 September 2012

Some thoughts on the River Corrib

So I am interested in the net/ filter as a metaphor/ device in the river's narrative. The fishing nets catching the grilse. The Salmon Weir bridge catching the Atlantic salmon as they return to sea. The locals catching their dinner from the pier. Filtering the river. And along the same lines the river filtering the city and vice verse. The nets subtracting from the river's contents. Altering it's makeup. As I research the river I start to see it as a series of characters and legends. The wunderkammer. The most striking/ obvious, the drowned princess daughter Gaillimh Inion Breasail. But also, the salmon run. The gallows. The watch tower. The mill and distillery workers. I am particularly interested in how the drowning of the princess story has changed over the years. The details passing though a kind of temporal filtering system with mostly slow gradual change but pockmarked by more dramatic filters. Moments in time where our devices jump forward dramatically. Filtering the information almost overnight. Mapping and perspective drawing springs to mind. Right down to the location of her drowning. The rock or spot on the river never fixed. Constantly debated and re interpreted. So I am starting to see our own systems and devices of data exchange/ information exchange/ storytelling as acting as a kind of filter(net). Initially her legend was passed by word of mouth and poems/ legends, eventually crude carvings. Then with the advent of perspective drawing and eventually mapping, her story has passed from person to person but each time passing through a different filter that inevitably leaves it's own mark. And what about the filter it is passing through right now? Her story broken into bits and released into the network. This latest step marked by the satellite image and a kind of copy and paste, Chinese whispers dissemination. 

So moving onto the drawing I am starting to look at how i might convey these filters. The subject could be Inion Breasail or some other character or curiosity . Maybe I could start with one and try to map it along the river? The bridges, pinch points and nets representing both the physical and metaphysical altering of the subjects appearance and location?

I also feel tempted to break out of the birds eye/ satellite view. I was particularly struck by some of the strange perspectives offered up in historic map's. That slightly warped, pre-scientific mapping, seems a little more plausible/ fitting given the nature of what i want to convey.

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