In February 2021, Co. Clare artist Susan O’Neill embarked on her directorial debut.
One year after the global pandemic began, Susan brought twenty-four multidisciplinary artists together over five days to collaborate in a very unique way in the historic Bunratty Castle in Co. Clare. ‘The Space between- An Spás Eadrainn’ multidisciplinary art documentary will have it’s broadcast premiere this evening on TG4.
After a year of a pandemic, our social norms and structures were hastily broken down into the unknown now to be rebuilt again. ‘The Space Between’asks questions encompassing where the human connection and human condition sit within our creative process, Susan invited an array of musicians, authors, actors, dancers, tai chi masters, milliners, painters, potters and much more to collaborate with unlikely matches within the great hall of the extraordinary Bunratty castle.
The space between journeys with Co. Clare milliner Margret O’Connor forging colorful headpieces while immersed in a sound bath of Tibetan singing bowls conducted by Gráinne McCormick. Visual artist Myra O’Reilly paints to the sounds of Mick Flannery’s improvised piano playing. Lisa Hannigansings accompanied by Ronan Mc Loughlin maneuvering gracefully around his Poi’s and glass orb.
Inis Mór painter Cyril O’ Flaherty adds to his new collection inspired by gannets while immersed in the sounds of Tara Howleys uilleann piping. Narrated by Liam Ó Maonlai, and featuring many other contributors including Dónal Lunny, John Spillane, Tolü Makay, Daithí, Varo, Clare Sands, Manchán Magan and many more.
This multidisciplinary art fusion invites artists who have never collaborated and in most cases have not met, to surrender to the sentiment of witnessing and being witnessed in their creative process. The experience invites the participants to trust themselves and each other in the venture into active improvisational practice of passion.
In a series of interview questions the collaborators tease out what role the creative process has to play in the midst of their lives and an ever changing world around them. All collaborators agreed to participate in what can be described as an intense and profound eye gaze, two minutes of unbroken eye contact facing their new collaborator. As we dive into what contact means to each personal contributor, what space means to them and what is important about sharing it, some common themes are found. Susan captures a rekindling of the human connection.
Susan’s songwriting is currently shortlisted for the Vanda and Young songwriting award, her collaboration album ‘In The Game’ with Mick Flannery was both nominated for album of the year in both the RTÉ Radio 1 folk awards, and the recent Choice music prize. For ‘The Space Between’ Susan collaborated with filmmakers from Collective Films, Lettercollum Studios and creative consultant and film editor Christopher Luke , from Seven Red Squares. It was co-produced with Star House Collective.
‘The Space Between’ was made possible with funding from the Business to arts partnership with Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare arts office and TG4.