What You Forget – 1916 Centenary Commission
What You Forget is a choral work and series of site-interactive sound installations commissioned by Íontas Theatre, The Dept of Arts, Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Monaghan County Council for the official 1916 Centenary celebrations in 2016. The installations will be launched on Friday 19th August at 7pm in St. Peter’s Church Laragh, and will run for two weeks in three locations. The choral suite, based on Bureau of Military History interviews and the poetry of Patrick Kavanagh, will be performed on September 30th in Íontas Theatre, Castleblayney by Cantamus Chamber Choir and Our Lady’s Secondary School Choral Group.
What You Forget explores the nature of collective and selective memory, focusing on the way that forgetting – wilful and otherwise – plays a central role in the construction of memory and identity. The sound installation element of the piece takes place in three locations in Monaghan: the Carrickmacross Workhouse, Íontas Theatre Castleblayney and St. Peter’s Church (the Tin Tabernacle) in Laragh. These installations function organically, interacting with any sonic presence in the room. As the days pass, and dependent on the degree of footfall and human interaction in the space, the piece will gradually “forget” aspects of itself – as such, over the lifetime of the three installations each will develop a different identity from the others. The audience are invited to read memories of the space back to it, keeping it alive. The interactive aspect of the piece invites the audience to consider the ways in which certain narratives can become obscured from memory and disappear. Where Castleblayney and Carrickmacross continued to grow after the Rising and Independence, Laragh, a mill town run by a wealthy Anglican family, dwindled in size over the following decade with much of its population migrating north of the border for work. The 1916 Centenary gives us an opportunity to recall complex aspects of Irish identity that have not been given full voice in the emergent years of an independent Ireland.