Monday, August 31, 2009

Carberry and Greenwood

Fixing sunset as the time that the SpiritStore closes lately seems to encourage the apperance of a late flamed Limerick sun spotlighting this corner of town and participants are now illuminated while engaging in a contemplative wind down viewing the days final event.
Illustrating this on Saturday the performer Mark Carberry presented himself as a sun god in transit. As he stood in the middle of the floor surrounded by nearly 50 people his bronze vinyl leggings and burnished tunic absorbed the summers last rays allmost encouraging him to anoint this temporary space for autumms arrival.
Carberry was working tonight with the composer John Greenwood showcasing two collaborative performance pieces. Here they reconstructed personal fragments and observations distilled from rants, ranting and all sorts of mental exfoliation into a performance workshop using the Spiritstore as a platform. The result is delivered for the space through the combined medium of electro acoustic sound design and body movement.
Lately, memories are being logged and reconstituted in the SpiritStore as both passersby and past patrons drop in to share stories of the Sarsfield Bars past. This week we heard that the space was a hub for (quote) ‘working girls’ in the 1930,s. This information- which if presented in the context of this evening- allows for another addition, one more possible twilight reimaging as the building silently offers past tales to the performer in its center tonight.
Carberry on the floor is now a figure of dull shined twists. We watch and follow his pointing finger. Our attention is drawn to the faded 30s era scraps of paper mummified by the walls plaster. He arches upwards as Greenwood triggers limbering audio shapes from a laptop. The deep green papered roof now appears church high as from the speakers an electronically treated voice talks abstractly of sonourous Sex.
Outlining this theme in movement the duo sought to present –as subject matter- the tension inherrent in the aspects of presentation that occur when you sexually set out your stall. This act is of course not compliant on gender or age and it is a subject as a performer Carberry has creatively visited before.
The words ‘Britney Spears’ is growled from Carberrys mask at one stage as he claws on the carpet towards what appears to be a pair of high heeled shoes deformed by white gaffa tape. (Note. One of the patron saints of music preformance, Kate Bush once laid out a similar agenda in her song ‘Suspended in gaffa’)
An imagined pattern occurs as we absorb the time and place. How much ranting occured when the Women of the 30s occupied this space? What tone did they adopt? How did they position themselves? Did they tailor their words and thoughts around these four walls also? Was their attire as confrontational as Carberrys tonight? (For purposes at the begining, a green table cloth was fashioned and powershouldered as a cape to offset his gaffa taped head.)
Greenwoods score was puncuated with silences filled by the cafes coffee machined hiss alternating with recognisable sampled urban noise treatments. These ocassionally stood apart from the activity on the floor but never so much as to assume a detrimental identidy compromising the piece.
The sound of train on an over head track stuttered from the speakers. Outside cars picked up in volume, their noise washing in as they began to ferry the weekend population into the city. A bronzed Mark turns and stands facing the wall to finish.
Before leaving both preformers explained the nature of their collaboration and how feedback from displays like tonight are integral to the work in progress. The shorter first piece of the two tonight was showcased intially as a finished work on the ‘Rants’ theme but most felt that the improv of the second movement was a stronger interpretation particularly after Greenwoods explanation of how the moodboards the duo used visually shaped the piece.
This work well worth following as a journey shaped through improv and focused through different Limerick spaces. Its particular sucess tonight in some small part due to the Spiritstore and the emotional static that circles its walls when the sun goes down.
Paul Tarpey.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Work in Progress

Later on Saturday night John Greenwood and Mark Carberry presented two collaborative performances in sound and movement. The pieces are part of an ongoing project; what we saw was a surreal and atmospheric work in progress. Both artists spoke about the process of collaboration in general and also specifically in relation to the work they presented. (More preambulations to come on this event from Paul Tarpey...)
The theme of collaboration continued into Sunday night when Myles Breen and Ciarda Tobin deliberated on their experience of writing their own plays based, in part, on personal experience. Collaboration in theatre practice emerged as a strong element in the process, as well as letting go of preconceived ideas, allowing characters to develop and change, being adaptable and so on. Ciarda described her experience of writing ‘The Fishermans Son’ staged earlier this summer in the Belltable Arts Centre and Myles talked about and read scenes from his current project 'Language Unbecoming a Lady', to be staged at the same venue on Sept 11th.

We took a passage by fish to Australia

Tim Evans storytelling in the Irish tradition of Seanachi, took us on a journey drawn out in ashes to New York city from a Kerry kitchen, we searched for black cows in the dead of night with drunken poets, agreed that a good hat on a mans head gave him authority and took a passage by fish to Australia. For sure, it’s not the first time that the inside walls of the old Sarsfield Bar have echoed the sound of a good tale, but we wonder have they ever been told so well as this Saturday afternoon.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I have a passion for pools

More from the voice of Dawn mcCarthy...

I have a passion for pools, this comes out every now and then at a strange time of night , often when a drink or two has been taken. John Galvin's piece - "...'till human voices wake us" often puts me in mind of a pool, a quiet pool bent over with trees. This would be my ultimate place to listen to this beautifully enigmatic piece, hand slipping over edge of lilo, anchored to centre for best sound appreciation. Obviously, The SpiritStore could not quite conjure up a pool but what did happen was equally sensational, a pool of people all sharing the centre floor in a loose circle for best sound appreciation, heads bent like hair dipping willows, eyelashes tipping cheeks, strangers forced into a closeness not easy shared. By the end of John's piece (a shorter version can be heard on his MySpace page) everyone seemed quite happy to stay on the floor and ask their various questions of the slight modest composer seated in the corner on his fold-away chair. Once again The SpiritStore exposed us all to something fresh, fragile and fascinating and John Galvin left us looking at ourselves through the lens of his composition, standing, as it were, at the edge of that quiet pool gazing, on a sunny Sunday morning.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Seeing August Out - Graffiti, Technology, Print, Sound and Comedy

So far this week at SpiritStore, Choke Comedy Improv, Printmaker - Sercan Sahin, Interaction Designer -Luigina Ciolfi, Composer - John Galvin, Tweak Festival organiser - Nora O'Murchu and Promoter/Photographer/RecordSpinner -Paul Tarpey have occupied the space with a variety of events.

Brian and Eileen Coates having been travelling back and forth to India for the last six years, at first to lecture in cultural studies and later to participate in a Museum Project. Their description of the politics and sensitivities involved in naming, acknowledging, protecting and preserving one ethnic group in that vast continent by means of the construction of a local museum, broadened our horizons last Saturday afternoon.

A day later Choke Comedy Improv, a Limerick based improvisation group, crafted scenarios out of suggestions from the audience, written notes, and interaction strategies. Their joint theatrical experience, as actors, playwrights, directors came through as they tickled the SpiritStore audience on Sunday night with their ingenuity. (See Alan Crowley's stop-motion film in the post below for the action)
On Tuesday afternoon we hosted Sercan Sahin, a working artist living in Limerick. Speaking about Print as a medium, Sercan gave his audience an insight into the subject material that has inspired his work over the past 15yrs. He moved back and forth from technique to content to provide us with a clear idea of his ongoing practice.

Later the same day, Dr Luigina Ciolfi, from the Interaction Design Centre (IDC), at the University of Limerick, spoke about designing interactive technologies for public places. She began by contextualising her research, first as an approach that emphasises the importance of understanding people and context at the outset of a design project, and second by giving us her philosophical stand on ‘space and place’. Her presentation exemplified this design approach with a number of Limerick based project examples.

(Papers on this subject and examples of Interaction Design research carried out by the IDC here at home as well as europe-wide are available on the IDC website at )

Wednesday night, John Galvin, gathered his audience into a comfortable cluster in the middle of the SpiritStore and surrounded us with a set of five speakers that expelled the sound of his 12min sound piece based on states of sleep.
It was a wonderfully intimate sound experience that triggered questions on brainwave patterns, rythmn, waverates, surround-sound and interpretation.
And today, Nora O'Murchu introduced Limericks, TWEAK festival.

‘Tweak is an interactive art and live electronic music festival taking place in Limerick City between the 21st and 26th of September 2009. Its aim is to promote understanding of the use of technology within our culture and to explore contemporary issues (social, economic, psychological, aesthetic and functional).’

Limerick is hosting an international interactive art and live electronic music festival, with artists or artists work, arriving from the US and from all over Europe. SpiritStore will host the TWEAK cinema day on 24th of Sept, workshops on open source programming or digital object hacking that would normally cost 150 euros are available at a tenth of that price, (to very limited numbers, so be prepared to fight for a place) Nights of digital sound performances and expert presentations will run for 5days.

What emerged from todays talk is the sheer hard work that has gone into organising TWEAK, thanks Nora!

Finally, tonight Paul Tarpeys commentry and images of city graffiti defied any narrow interpretation of the form. Questions were put to the audience without judgement, on the activity, as a mark, an artform, a political or social statement, as a genre, a sub-culture, and in the end, on what future form might the activity and the graffitists take.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Calender is Almost Full!

There's been an amazing response to the call for events, so much so, that the calender is almost can see it here, in the post below and at the bottom of the page for a longer view (click on the Agenda tab, almost visible at the top right corner of the calender, it gives you a list view for all the events to come).
A huge thanks to everyone who has participated so far and for those who have offered to join the SpiritStore in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, Alan Crowley's stop-motion film gives a flavour for anyone who can't manage a visit yet...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


You can see a month view at the bottom of this on event for more details

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Vertigo Smyth, his Ukulele, his Guitar and his Banjo

Thanks to Vertigo Smyth for his beautiful tunes on Friday night, he's agreed to come back, we're already looking forward it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

From The QuietClub to Mathematics

The Quiet Club was formed early in 2006 by Danny Mc Carthy and Mick O'Shea, two of Ireland's foremost sound artists as an outlet for their own work and that of other artists.

Danny Mc Carthy, Mick O'Shea and Harry Moore were kind enough to come up from Cork to treat a SpiritStore audience to an improvised sound performance. Organic in structure and involving electroacoustic instruments and distortion hardware, the three artists worked reciprocally to create a unique composition Though well used to improvising and playing together on a regular basis, each sound artists brought with them a unique approach to sound composition. Danny used combinations of amplified and modified objects (stones, wire brushes,etc) as well as theremin, and modified childrens electronic toys. Mick used home made synthasisers and modified musical/altered instruments Harry used combinations of therenim, distortion effects and modified microphones and string intruments. The combination of all three sound artists playing together resulted in an improvisation that was both engaging and transandental.

Talking Maths/Art collaborations was Alexis Clancy, we've asked Dawn McCarthy to write a small piece for this item in our blog, which will follow.......................... and here it is, thanks Dawn!

I drank in the Spirit Store on many a wet winter night a long time ago, when the gloom of the place snuggled in around you and Sean stopped serving pints to hear the latest from the lips of ol' Gaybo. It was dark, dreary, dank and totally heavenly.
So when I heard that Marilyn Lennon had gone after the place, like a terrier down a rabbit hole, for the preferred premises of her brainchild SpiritStore Art Cafe, I waited with breath held still. And as we all know the little terrier emerged from a well dug hole triumphant if a little smudged around the eyes from lack of sleep, to give us, along with the help of her dynamic SpiritStore pack, a jam-packed schedule of mind-indulgent playtime for big people, one of whom being, Alexis Clancy, a well known local super-hero with a glorious mathematically inclined mind.
Alexis spoke eloquently for the bones of 2 hours on his present and past work and on various collaborations that he is or has worked on. Sometimes everything would make blind mind-melting sense and sometimes not, but most importantly, to me anyway, was that Alexis, in his own amazing way, did always make some form of sense to me.
As I listened to him and watched his self-selected slip show, which sometimes shone over and around him seeming to weave him into the very fabric of the maths that he was talking about, I felt calm, safe and strangely loved.
It was a great moment both simple and complicated like the man himself. Check out the SpiritStore, as the man Alexis himself so rightly put it -"There is space for us all". - Dawn McCarthy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

BookClub, Artist Collectives, Film Script Writing...

The first meeting of the the SpiritStore BookClub was a place to pitch books and nominate titles. The club have decided to put a list together of (reasonably priced) books that they know are available in town, and to meet every Wed lunchtime. This weeks title hasnt been announced, we'll keep you posted...
Ok this weeks book is Books V's Cigarettes by George Orwell
Next meeting is Wed 26th at SpiritStore 1 - 2pm

Sean Taylor's talk on Artists Collectives had our biggest turn out so far. He referenced the artistic, social and political circumstances that have bred Ireland's artists collectives, from Art & Research Exchange (ARE) in Belfast to the Cork Artists Collective and beyond. Given his involvement in up to five collectives, he is well placed to recommend strategies, and to pinpoint pitfalls when setting up and maintaining a group.

We can email his presentation to anyone at the talk you'd like a copy.

Last evenings slot (Wed 19th Aug) Ailbhe Keogans honest portrayal of the writing journey was an inspiration. From Molly and the Cyclops to her current film script, her talk ultimately brought an understanding of the creative, mental, physical and structural, nature of her writing.
For anyone in the audience interested, she can be contacted through SpiritStore.

Finally a word of appreciation for all those who have offered to participate, and/or who have filled out our submission form. So far we have been programming through our own contacts to get the show on the road, but it is very heartening to receive offers. In the four days since we've opened we've had five offers, so thank you very much!

The programme is almost full to the end of August, we're starting to look at September.

If you feel you'd like to contribute please email, contact us through facebook, this blog, or drop by and chat. Our aim is to accommodate as much as we are physically able to, in the time we have.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Doors are Open

Thanks to everyone who has been in to visit so far or sent words of congratulations and encouragement. Opening day Sunday last was fantastic, Reuban Shortt showed two Skateboard films that gave us his perspective on a vibrant Limerick sub-culture. We discovered the All Ireland Skateboard Champions are being held in Limerick next weekend. Did you know that? we didn't but we do now and we're hosting a cup of tea and a space for debate for the Skateboarders next Sat night before they party.

The Shannonside Astronomers Club were out of this world, ouch bad pun, but seriously they were entertaining, informative, open to the continuous line of questioning and in fairness brave considering they had no idea how they'd be received, being the first day. More of this kind of thing please, they were great!

On Sunday night, Carla Burns opened up an evening conversation on the demise of cinema in Limerick city centre with an introduction to her DIY Guerilla Cinema. She invited Jack Burke who ran The City Theatre and Tom English, who ran The Savoy, later in the evening each related tales from their experience to the SpiritStore. Wonderful images emerged - usherettes selling sweets, spot-lighted as they moved about the dark womb of the theatres amongst the audience, film reels taken from the train and delivered to the cinema by handcart. We were told that Limerick had the largest cinema going population in the world pro-rata at one stage, that altogether there have been twelve city centre cinemas, we were told that there was only one copy of a film in the country at a time, and that up to 2000 film-goers would pour in and out of cinemas in limerick city centre in a single night. We didn't need to be told that here is no limerick city centre cinema now.

Todays hightlights were FRESH films, more to come..

And Tadgh Kellehers research on the connectedness of brainwaves and soundwaves. A small audience debated, asked questions, disagreed, agreed and picked his brain in true Café Voltaire style... more of this too please!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Welcome to the SpiritStore

The SpiritStore Art Cafe presents a collection of diverse cultural activities over the months of August and September to be hosted in the unique environment of a Limerick landmark,The Sarsfield Bar. In the coming weeks The SpiritStore project seeks to infuse this reclaimed space with an busy collection of talks, performances, debates / discussions, screenings, readings, meetings and chance encounters with musicians, writers, visual artists, film makers, collectives, as well as varied clubs and societies.This inclusive experiment is an open invitation for all of Limerick to experience, absorb and creatively contribute to an exciting project. The Sarsfield Bar is located on the corner of Rutland St and Bank Place directly across from the Hunt Museum. The Sprit Store Art Cafe opens on the 9th of August until the 30th of September with a preview on August 8th at 5.00pm .Opening times are 12.00 til sunset Tuesday to Sunday inclusive.
(Coffee will be served free or with a donation but no food will be prepared or served in the space.)

A link too download our SUBMISSION FORM...

Our timetable for August, so far...

For any other information we can be contacted by e-mail ( )

SpiritStore is...

Marilyn Lennon - Project Leader
Paul Tarpy - Public Relations
Anna Donegan - Security and Health and Safety
Catherine O'Brien - Volunteer Coordinator
Anna Donegan & Catherine O'Brien - Volunteer Handbook
Chris Boland & Derrek O'Sullivan - Buildings Managers
Aidan Kelleher - Set up and Tech Support
Eilish Tuite - Estates Manager
Alina O'Shaughnessy & David Morris - Treasury
Marilyn Lennon & Ciarda Tobin - Programme Coordinators

Also on the SpiritStore management team

Sarah Bulger
Stephen Neary
Tony Hassett
Cian O Donoghue
Carla Burns
Barry Kennedy
Orlagh Spain
Tadgh MacCullagh
Alan Crowley
Clive Moloney
Mike O Brien
Matthew Quain
Patricia Stapleton

Joanne Walsh