We Are The Map
18-30 October 2022
Text and Sound Installation by Sinéad Gleeson and Stephen Shannon
You do not need to know my name but:
I am Mary, Amina, Penelope, Brigid,
Persephone, Frida, Maebh, Makeda,
Sojourner, Granuaile, Cassiopeia, Nan
I am Hecate, Rosa, Lakshmi, Aphra
the X-Case Girl; the women given letters not names,
Sappho, Marsha, Maura, Edna,
Green Tara, Black Madonna
I am the first girl child they put in the septic tank
Come to the loud, feral
Herland, SheLand, Theyland.
A Queenopolis, Cisopolis, Transopolis
A Republic of personhood.
I am the map.
We are the map.
We Are The Map is an ekphrasis / intimate, immersive sound response located in gallery 18, by writer Sinéad Gleeson and composer Stephen Shannon. Gleeson was originally paired with Alice Maher and Rachel Fallon to write a text in response to The Map at Rua Red –– but from this, a new collaboration developed. It became an integral audio piece, moving from Gleeson’s original text into an immersive soundscape that accompanies The Map.
Their incantatory sound quest is narrated by an ‘everywoman’ who moves around new terrain. The everywoman’s freedom of movement is in contrast to the many women who were unable to escape the laundries, mother & baby homes, or homes where they worked non-stop. We Are The Map is divided into 24 sections echoing the 24 books of the Odyssey. It's a journey, a pilgrim's progress, a quest through new lands and terrains. Gleeson and Shannon collaborated on the sound and texture of the piece, adding music from Mary Barnecutt, Sadhbh Sullivan, and Matthew Nolan. It builds to a final chorus of 36 individual voices united in a mantra; their herstories filling areas of Mahers and Fallon’s Mappa Mundi. Voices such as Lynn Ruane, Catherine Corless, Vicky Phelan, Ailbhe Smith, Felispeaks, Rosaleen Mc Donagh, Olwyn Fouéré, Marian Keyes, local women from Tallaght, and the Magdalene artists themselves. They all carry their own stories that now inhabit The Map.
The Map and We Are The Map were originally commissioned by Rua Red as part of the Magdalene Series*, curated by Maolíosa Boyle and resonates strongly with themes explored by artists in our current exhibition Bones in the Attic. This special project The Map @ Hugh Lane Gallery, curated by Jessica O’Donnell Head of Education and Community Outreach, will be accompanied by a series of discursive talks by artists Alice Maher and Rachel Fallon as well as Rua Red director Maolíosa Boyle.
*The Magdalene series features the work of five of Ireland’s leading artists Amanda Coogan, Jesse Jones, Grace Dyas, Alice Maher, and Rachel Fallon. They were commissioned by Rua Red in 2018 to create work in response to the history and legacy of Mary Magdalene and her association with the incarceration and institutionalisation of women, and to propose a new world uncurbed by religion, political, or societal doctrine. It is a world viewed through the lens of contemporary feminism and feminist theology.