Something in
the Water

A tribute to the city’s literary and artistic soul – blending the latest digital art techniques with the beauty of the banks of the Grand Canal.

A loving tribute to
the Grand Canal

'Something in the Water' is the first exhibition at Wilton Park to use Ireland's largest outdoor LED installation dedicated solely to the arts as a piece of cultural infrastructure. Measuring 24.5-metres, the digital art installation offers a whole new platform for artists to connect with the city and a never-before-seen opportunity for Dubliners to immerse themselves in the world of digital art.

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Something in the Water

Eight pieces inspired by the likes of Patrick Kavanagh, Flann O'Brien, Eavan Boland, Samuel Beckett, Mary Lavin - and even Parsons Bookshop which served as a literary hub for artists, writers and poets in the area from 1969 to 1989.

The artists

Artists
Kev Freeney
Around we go
Artists
Cian McKenna
Is it About a Bicycle
Artists
Carol Freeman – Paper Panther
Ode to May O’Flaherty and Mary King
Artists
Cormac Murray
Disruption
Artists
Anna Lawlor
High Window
Artists
Sergey Maslov
The Creative Relay
Artists
Bureau Bonanza
Something in the Water exhibition identity
Artists
Roman Hill
Illumination
Artists
Ross Ryder
A Poet is Born
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Kev Freeney

Kev’s art practice focuses on the use of light and movement. He’s interested in harnessing technology to create surreal worlds of emotive expression while situationally framing them in their surroundings. His work often finds him collaborating with other artists - especially dancers and musicians. It is here that he finds himself at his most creative - trying to find a dialect that helps express the group’s individual creative thoughts while working together. Kev likes to facilitate a space for chaos to roam and waits for unexpected moments to be captured. The work questions traditional forms of narrative found in entertainment and is often self reflective.

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Around we go

Louisa gave the works of Beckett to inspire Kev’s piece. Around We Go is about inspiration - an epiphany that washes over you; leaving you floating and weightless in thought. Beckett’s existentialist words describe a great beauty that isn’t there. Kev brings the viewer into a place that is from, but not of this world. Discussing his concept with aerial silk artist Ria Murphy, they worked with Burschi Wojnar and Lewis Byrne to capture a number of movements that communicated this idea of submersion. Folding Waves recorded Sam Comferford improvising on Tenor Sax and Clarinet and created the audio accompaniment in their studio.

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Cian McKenna

Cian McKenna is a Director, Motion Designer, and reformed graphic designer from the Visual Communications BA in DIT. After interning on the 3x3 programme, Cian went on to work for design studios such as Detail, Design Studio, and Image, before joining Windmill Lane Pictures as a Motion Design Lead. Now freelance, Cian works for a wide variety of international and domestic clients on moving-image projects. Originally from Dublin, Cian now lives and works in Westport, Co. Mayo.

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Is it About a Bicycle

Is it about a Bicycle, may or may not be about a bicycle. It may not even be about many bicycles. It also may or may not be a quiet, slightly amusing, and fittingly off-kilter homage to the literary genius that was Brian O’Nolan (aka Flann O’Brien, aka Myles na gCopaleen) The piece draws a connection between the musings on the nature of bicycles as described in O’Nolans seminal ‘The Third Policeman’ to the constant busy flow of cyclists along the canal today.

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Carol Freeman - Paper Panther

Paper Panther is an award-winning studio based in the heart of Dublin City. Headed by the founder and director Carol Freeman, they are a close-knit team of creatives who specialise in hand-crafted, stop-motion techniques. Whether the story calls for felt puppets, paper cut-outs, or hand-painted animation, they view each project as a new opportunity to create something unique. Their short film and commercial work have racked up over 60 awards and screened at prestigious festivals around the world.

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Ode to May O’Flaherty and Mary King

The basic form of this piece is a female figure running, morphing, and changing from fluid shapes, to cubist blocks, eventually separating into abstract shapes that fill the screen and reforming to continue the cycle. The inspiration comes from the female ownership of Parsons Bookshop, inspiring artists, poets, and writers over four decades. Each step she takes morphs and changes her to suggest the passing of ideas and cross inspiration between so many important Irish artists that took place there.

Created by Carol Freeman, Katie Sherlock, and Ciara Nolan of Paper Panther.

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Cormac Murray

Cormac Murray is a founding member of Algorithm Productions with a background in the visual Arts. Cormac specialises in creating works that explore light, motion and the interaction of physical forces.

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Disruption

Disruption is a work inspired by the life and work of Eavan Boland, and in particular her poem Escape. The film takes place along the bottom of the Grand canal, where a stone stirs up the silt of the canal basin, which comes alive as we witness a struggle between a woman and her prescribed role in Ireland, viewed through the lens of Eavan Boland’s imagery.

Boland's work disrupts the mythical, idealised representation of women in Irish Art, which, she felt, did not represent the reality of being a woman in Ireland and this idea informs this film.

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Anna Lawlor

A Dublin-based designer from Westport in Co Mayo, studied animation in IADT Dun Laoghaire.

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High Window

The piece was inspired by Elizabeth Bowen’s childhood and how her surroundings influenced how she saw the world. It reflects on the adult world through the eyes of a child and all of the wonder, awe, and fear that accompanies that. Bowen’s relationship with the canal was a complex one; the canal was a key feature in her childhood, while also a source of fear as she worried the waters would one day rise to her window.

The first half, full of simplistic shapes and a soothing pastel palette represents the child’s perspective of the adult world. The second half brings in the theme of time passing as we step into the adult world.

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Sergey Maslov

Sergey Maslov has been working in the motion design field for the past 8 years. Studying at the British Higher School of Design, he later worked at Sila Sveta’s studio as a CG artist as well as a lead broadcast designer on a federal TV channel. In 2020, he founded his own CG production studio called ‘Smaslom’ and presented his educational course for motion designers, ‘The Author’s Awakening’. Sergey is also the creator of a massive collaboration called Symbiosis. His non-commercial short three-act film ‘Triptych’ is a multi-award winner of international festivals.

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The Creative Relay

Sergey used the principle of creative relay as the main artistic tool for this project, with the sound directors creating small narrative audio sketches, which were passed on to the motion designers. The basis for this piece is a voice recording of the poem 'Let me come inland always' by Mary Lavin, performed by Cathy Belton. With the help of an algorithm, the poem generates a real visual wave based on the dynamics of sound vibrations from the audio track.

In the context of the visual narrative and my author’s idea, the poet stands on the bank of the Grand Canal and reads her poem, while the waves of her rolling voice spread over the water’s surface.

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Bureau Bonanza

Bureau Bonanza is the Dublin based design studio of Rachel Copley McQuillan and Stina Sandström. Specialising in many aspects of design from illustration to typography and animation, Bureau Bonanza believe thorough research and immersing themselves in each brief are instrumental to making original work that reaches far and speaks people. Be that through a big impactful idea or simply, beautifully crafted design, they try to avoid making anything that feels formulaic. They take great pleasure in helping their clients connect with their audiences in new ways through progressive and engaging design and ideas.

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Something in the Water exhibition identity

Patrick Kavanagh, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Eavan Boland and Flann O’Brien are just a few examples of Irish writers who have lived beside, written about or set their work within this literary channel. Taking inspiration from this, the exhibition identity came to life as the unfolded dust jacket of a book from this time and place.

Research began by looking at 20th century book covers of these writers, antique book shops from the area and other printed ephemera from the Canal’s rich literary history . Looking quite specifically at the areas of Wilton Park and Baggot street Bridge, these spots were used to inform the illustration of the canal, with its romantic weeping willows, lily pads and swans.

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Roman Hill

Roman Hill is a Paris based artist who explores the microscopic world to reach the immensity of the universe. In his Paris atelier Roman creates immersive macro worlds of hypnotic abstract imagery based on a variety of physical phenomena and chemical reactions. Abdul Mogard is a music composer from Belgrade, Serbia. His music invites the listener into an introspective and hypnotic journey through richly textured soundscapes.

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Illumination

Light travels 8 minutes 20 seconds from the surface of the boiling sun to delicate life on earth. Illumination is an invitation to follow the journey of a light beam through an hypnotic, contemplative and meditative cosmic Trip. Without any use of CGI (computer generated imagery) the piece was created by filming ultra close ups of colorful chemical reactions and live organisms. A Score was created by Abul Mogard, offering an immersive, introspective experience, with the hope of creating the context to the visual work.

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Ross Ryder

Ross is a Dublin-based artist who specialises in the fields of motion design and 3D design, with a particular focus on the spaces where they interact. His work ranges from animation for screen-based works to 3D printed sculptures and lighting installations.

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A Poet is Born

This piece set out to explore the emotional journey of rebirth elicited in Patrick Kavanagh’s poem ‘Canal Bank Walk’.

The Canal and its flora and fauna reflect the subjective state of the character as they progress through the stages of rebirth. Starting in a heavy and burdened place, moving to a moment of release, and finally arriving at a place of acceptance and ultimately a sense of oneness with one’s surroundings.

The look, feel, and sound of paper was used throughout this piece to bring the material canvas used by Kavanagh and other poets onto the canvas of this screen.

The curators

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Algorithm

Algorithm blends creativity and cutting-edge technology to create stunning visual experiences. An award-winning team of young artists, engineers and producers, Algorithm's Dublin studio is brimming with the vision and expertise to bring the most ambitious ideas to life.

Since coming together in 2015, the company has built on its early success delivering immersive visuals for international art and music festivals to become Ireland's go-to studio for turning the wildest dreams into reality.

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Louisa Carroll

Louisa Carroll is a writer and Irish Research Council Doctoral Scholar. Her current research investigates the relationship between Irish Literature and the Grand Canal. She is a resident scholar at UCD Humanities Institute.

Louisa is also a tutor in the department of English, Drama and Film at UCD with research interests in Modern Irish and American Literature. She is a literary reviewer for The Sunday Times Culture. Her work has appeared in The Irish Times, Books Ireland and The Corridor.

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Living Canvas at the Tropical Fruit Warehouse

"Where Glass Meets Water" is a digital installation by Algorithm. This immersive installation explores Dublin's collective imagination, linking the rich history of the River Liffey with the city's revived docklands.