Fearghal Duffy: Halloween in the Celtic Tradition


    In my last blog post I related the story of how the Gaels triumphantly arrived in Ireland and how their poet-seer Amairgen wooed the goddess with his magical poetry. This story marks the ascendency of the Gaels over their predecessors, the Tuatha Dé Danann. The Tuatha Dé Danann were the old gods of Ireland. When the Gaels arrived and successfully wooed the land over to their side, it was agreed… Read More

Michael Cleary-Gaffney: The Importance of Sleep


As I finish up the end of my thesis whilst being overly sleep deprived the importance of sleep has never been so pertinent. Today, I post a video presentation by Russell Foster a professor at the University of Oxford. Here he discusses the reasons why we sleep and why its so important for cognitive performance.  He argues that poor sleep can lead to attenuated  cognitive performance such as poor memory. Lack of… Read More

Fiona Gannon: Tomás Saraceno and his spider collaboration


Tomás Saraceno has collected spiders, who have constructed webs that he has then sonified. The spiders vibrate their webs, and play music. Musicians have been invited to respond to the spider’s music for a series of “Jam Sessions.” Jamming with spiders. But is this really a collaboration? In what sense have the spiders collaborated with Saraceno? The spiders were brought to the space for exhibition and allowed to build webs in the space… Read More

Shane Byrne: Reinterpreting Environmental Data


I spoke previously about reinterpreting the environment around us using devices such as wind chimes and The Singing Ring Tree in Burnley. There are other examples of such reinterpretations such as an instrument called the aeolian harp. This instrument uses the power of the wind to excite an array of strings in order to produce long drone like tones. These above examples have only one method of achieving this reinterpretation due the… Read More

Catherine Bergin: Wartime Fashion


Varian Fry, an American tasked with helping political refugees out of France, arrived in Spain with the aim of making contacts to facilitate this objective. In his suit case, Fry carried secret messages in everyday innocuous items including tubes of toothpaste but it was not these messages that worried him. When he reached the comfort of his Spanish hotel, inside almost every item of clothing in his suit case were notes from… Read More

Mandy Tracey: A Tale of Two Bogs


The word bog comes from bogach the old Irish for soft ground which perfectly describes the wet spongy surface. Bogs are wetland ecosystems which produce peat and are generally low nutrient, acidic environments. Bogs have two distinct layers called the acrotelm and catotelm. The lower layer of a bog termed catotelm is composed of peat, the partially decayed remains of organic material mainly of plant origin. This accumulation began roughly 7,000 years… Read More

Jiajing Yang: Infinite immersive space

  Spaces of openness might be regarded as places that envelop viewers and push viewers into a boundless open space. This kind of space could be related to the notion of immersion. Immersion is  an “artificial environment” and “assisted by technical equipment”(Sloterdijk, 2011, p.106). A main characteristic of artificial immersion is “the potential replacement of whole environments” because “Immersion as a method unframes images and vistas, dissolving boundaries with their environment.” (Sloterdijk,… Read More

Paula B. Garcia Rosa: Wave-Energy Converters


A wave-energy converter (WEC) is a machine able to capture energy from ocean waves and convert it into electricity. Unlike wind energy, where the conversion of energy is based on the motion of a wind turbine, there are many different ways that WECs can extract energy from the waves. In one of my chats with Shane, I explained to him which type of WEC I’ve been working with in my research. So,… Read More

Fearghal Duffy: To Woo a Goddess

Sovereignty Goddess

In Dead Poets Society Robin Williams plays an English teacher, John Keating, who challenges his students to tell him why language was invented. None of them are quite sure how to answer the question but one student suggests that it was in order to communicate. But, this according to Keating is wrong. Language was invented, he informs them, ‘to woo women’. The language he specifically has in mind is poetry. To woo… Read More

Shane Byrne: Giving the environment a new voice


Just as poets and painters have expressed the beauty of the world around us through elegant prose and vibrant colours, so too have composers of music through the medium of sound. The various elements of the world that we experience from day to day have been reimagined as crashing percussion, fluttering woodwinds and warm, soft strings. What interests me as a composer is allowing the environment to speak for itself. Of course… Read More