Following the Whitethorn

Artist Name(s) Michael Fortune
Artwork title Following the Whitethorn
Context/Background Following the Whitethorn is a three-part video work which focuses on a collection of ancient and contemporary superstitions and beliefs from people living in and around the town of Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. Each work allows the viewer into the shared imaginary space which exists within the psyche of a community, as they recount similar superstitious activities and rituals involving everyday life.

Description

Recorded over eighteen months, this three-part work focuses on a collection of ancient and contemporary superstitions and beliefs from people living in and around the town of Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. Each work allows the viewer into the shared imaginary space which exists within the psyche of a community, as they recount similar superstitious activities and rituals involving everyday life.

Each of the three collections are twenty minutes in duration and feature the same people in all three works. Fortune does not use folklore to service nostalgia, but instead attempts to highlight how folklore is constantly added to, and how it is intrinsically linked to both memory and occasion, fiction and interpretation.

Each of the three works were recorded in a variety of settings ranging from people's homes and private nursing homes to centres for older people. The official launch screening took place on St. John's eve and there was a huge turnout to mark this wonderful event in the town. The artist received a warm Mayo welcome when he began the project in January 2008 and many people in the town and county have became familiar with Michael and his project. Since he started the project some people he recorded have passed away, which only serves to highlight the fragility of this store of wealth.

To coincide with the recording process he presented a selection of preview screenings of the newly collected material throughout the county as part of the 2009 Bealtaine festival. In November 2009 he presented the work extensively throughout County Mayo in a variety of settings ranging from day care centres, secondary schools, libraries and nursing homes.

Mediation

A limited edition of 500 DVDs were produced and are available free of charge from the Arts Office. Email Gaynor Seville, Public Art Coordinator to receive a copy.

Biographies

Michael Fortune was born in rural Co. Wexford, in 1975. He grew up in rural County Wexford in a family immersed in story, superstition and beliefs. This has proved to be a rich feeding ground for his work, and as a result he has produced many works and projects which explore this territory.

His practice revolves around the collection of material. He does not script or storyboard, instead he generates material out of the relationships and experiences he develops with the people and circumstances he encounters. In much of his video work the camera remains static, where editing is only ever employed out of necessity rather than luxury. Although referring to the form of the documentary, all evidence of the documenter or narrator is removed. The intimate nature of the relationships with the people and circumstances he encounters, and the subsequent reflective treatment of the material at hand is a key feature of his work.

Fortune presents work internationally mostly in a variety of contexts, ranging from video installations in galleries through to single screen presentations in film and video art festivals.  Since the beginning of 2007 his work has been presented in over ninety-five shows in a total of twenty-five countries spanning from Armenia to Venezuela and from Kilnaboy to Claremorris. Further information on www.michaelfortune.ie

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Mayo County Council
Project commission dates January 1, 2008 - June 1, 2009
Artform Film,Visual Arts
Funded By Mayo County Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 35000 - 70000 euro
Project commission start date 01/01/2008
Project commission end date 01/06/2009
Location Ballinrobe
County Mayo
Town Mayo
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Website www.folklore.ie/Following_the_Whitethorn.html
Content contributor(s) Gaynor Seville
Relationship to project Public Art Coordinator, Mayo County Council

Opportunities

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Commission Call, Colaiste Ghlor na Mara, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin

25 May 2017

Application deadline: Thursday 6 July, 12 noon Coláiste Ghlór na Mara is an Irish language multi-denominational secondary school, located in a state...More..

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Traces

Greystones Educate Together National School appointed a voluntary committee with relevant expertise to oversee the per cent for art commissioning process. An external curator, Máire Davey, was appointed specifically for her expertise in working in a highly collaborative way as meaningful involvement from the students and school was viewed as central to the process. The procurement route chosen was limited invited competition.

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