Full name: Siobhán Ní Dhuinnín
Organisation: EVA International – Ireland’s Biennial
Currently lives and works in: Cork City, Ireland
Practice: Dance artist
Areas of interest: Environment, place, dance, film, performance
Favorite books: I love so many books! Sara Maitland, Rebecca Solnit & Kathleen Jamie are all authors I love.
Favorite films: The Last Waltz directed by Martin Scorsese.
I am a woman working in Cork, the city I was born in. I’m often on my own, but I work best collectively, having someone in the next room ready to discuss and challenge. I am a dancer; my primary resource is my body. I am mainly interested in what people consider dance to be and questioning that in the context of the community I am working in. I am continuously drawn to connecting with people and place. I am looking for where the body meets other forms and how this can lead to a shift in perception; of something’s purpose; of someone’s role; of the structures we surround ourselves with.
My practice is concerned with an experiential understanding of the moving body in particular habitats. It seeks to explore the meeting point between self, body, earth and environment. Emerging from my outdoor movement practice has come to an awareness of the language we use to speak about the place and the stories that evolve from the place. I am increasingly using Irish and English in my performance work. I am curious as to how using different languages can shift and change our perspective on the land and the communities that inhabit it.
The connection and relation to place as a layered construct that we make individually and collectively are also essential. I actively engage with my local community in Cork in a variety of ways including outreach programmes, site-specific work and children’s workshops. My primary concern with this work is to provide people with a healthy form of bodily expression and direct physical experience of interaction with the place. This work is essential in order for me to develop an inclusive approach to making and disseminating my work.
What inspires you as an artist?
The connection between body and space, collective histories, people, urban and rural environments, work of other artists.
What do you think is the purpose of art?
To make connections, to challenge, to provide hope, to allow for expression and relief, to shift perspective, to open minds and bodies, to resist.
Why are you a part of MagiC Carpets?
I initially became a part of MagiC Carpets because Georgie Scott’s proposal felt very considered and it really resonated with my work. I was excited at the opportunity to go to an unknown place, meet new people and make work. Now I feel I am a part of a broad network of artists, curators and friends who have challenged, supported and often participated in my process. My experience with MagiC Carpets has allowed me to engage deeply with my work and with a community of people in Folkestone and beyond, raising exciting questions and encouraging me to think outside the box.
MagiC Carpets project: “Let’s Meet While the Tide is Out”
The final project included a sensory movement walk, a short dance film and an experiential field journal, all centered around Folkestone Warren. For the walk, I led people through a series of explorations along the shoreline of Folkestone Warren opening the senses to this beautiful place. Along the way, I shared memories, myths and gems of knowledge that I gathered through walking and conversing with local people during my time in Folkestone.
The people who came on the walk were given their own field journal to take with them for future use. This included different quotes from local people and explorations that they could do whenever they visited the Warren encouraging them to deepen or alter their connection to this place.
Afterwards, we gathered together with local food and drink to share our stories and experiences of this shoreline and discuss the process of making work that is connected to place. This was accompanied by a screening of Slowly Moving Seaward a short dance film I made with Gemma Riggs and shown in a shipping container on the Harbour Arm in Folkestone.
The film was also shown at SALT Festival of the Sea and Environment 2018 alongside a dance workshop on the beach.
Past projects Siobhán Ní Dhuinnín is proud of
Immersed in the land, this intimate interaction integrates film, sound and movement created and developed in the West Kerry landscape. Dance artist, Siobhán Ní Dhuinnín collaborated with visual artist Cáit Ní Dhuinnín to create Clais during a two-week residency at Goat Street Studios, Dingle. The film features original sound by Alan Dormer and was supported by a Dance Ireland Residency Support Award.
“Under Your Nose”
Community Dance Performance
Under Your Nose is a site-specific, community dance work presented by eight boys ages 8-11 from Cork. Co-choreographed by dance artist Siobhán Ní Dhuinnín with the participants, Under Your Nose is set to an original sound score by Neil Quigley and instruments by visual artist Luke Sisk. The participants worked with Siobhán to create Under Your Nose, a sensory exploration into the secret places in the city. Sniffing, scratching, peeking and prying, Under Your Nose is inspired by the animals, plants and buildings that share our city. Delving into a vibrant and playful landscape, anything is possible! Under Your Nose is produced in association with Laura Murphy & Luke Murphy, Cork’s Dancer in Residence at Firkin Crane with the support of the Arts Council, Cork City Council and Firkin Crane.
Commissioned for Quarter Block Party 2016, Engulfsets out to investigate the marshy landscape of North Main Street before human settlement. In a playful duet exploring an imagined environment, the performers are inspired by the flora and fauna that are buried deep under our feet. Created and performed by dancer Siobhán Ní Dhuinnín and composer Neil Quigley passersby had the opportunity to see two pop-up performances in shop windows on either side of the street.
Juicy joints repeating de-evolutionary movement to come back to the ground. I imagine my hands pressing firmly into moist clay. My feet push off generating power through the body. Allow it to rise up along the spine. The timing is considered and steady. The movement is repetitive and bound, high tone in the body the pacing is important. A woman standing in a glass box. My asparagus fern sits in the corner. I don’t feel very human. I’m contained in my window, occasionally noticing Neil across the way. I’m a conduit for passersby to shift their attention to the street. I feel that stark moment of exposure that comes when performing in public spaces. I drop into the practicalities of what I am doing. A child laughs and points and two old ladies ask if they can have a go in the window too.