Published: Thursday, 2nd August, 2012 7:52pm
Joe Keenan of trans-art.cavan
"I think it will be good because it will generate debate and have people say 'What the hell is that? - Turn it off!'," predicts a laughing Joe Keenan, of a bonkers video by artist Jenny Keane, due to be screened in every pub in Cavan Town.
Joe, along with artists Siobhan Harton and Sally O'Dowd, is curating an exciting arts juggernaut that's gearing up to be the talk of this year's Fleadh. Key to the project, called trans-art.cavan, is that it brings artworks, some of which are accessible, others a little more challenging to the Fleadh-going masses. Challenging is probably where Jenny's 'debate-generating' video of a close-up of a masticating mouth comes in - it's definitely hard to swallow (ahem).
"It's like she has ink in her mouth and she's just opening and closing it," explains Joe. "The teeth are all black and the tongue is coming out - it will be interesting to see how long it will take until people react."
Jenny's movie is part of 'Art Hour'; a project in which every pub in Town will simultaneously screen an art film for one hour each day.
"It's bringing something unusual to people who would never even look at it, nor want to look at it," quips Joe.
However, some 'Art Hour' films will be, Joe's promises, "quite lovely", such as Vincent Sheridan's film of a mumuration of starlings. This piece captures tens of thousands of birds gracefully flocking in a mesmerising, shifting cloud. "That is beautiful and somebody could watch that without getting annoyed," Joe assures.
With over 40 local, national and international artists the scale of this ambitious contemporary art exhibition - involving installations, performances, sculpture, painting, talks, film/documentary, street art, workshops, open forums and much more - is too vast for an article to comprehensively cover. Fortunately the trans-art.cavan launch event scheduled for Saturday, August 4, will help provide an intriguing overview. Starting at the hub of activity, Cavan Institute campus at St Clare's Convent on Main Street at 3pm, the tour will visit all the various art sites throughout Cavan Town, and end up in 61 College Street (which Sally O'Dowd has transformed into an artwork) for a quaint tea party, which will probably finish at 7pm.
To give just a smidgen of a taste of what to expect from trans-art.cavan: St Augustine's Hall will appear to have been wall-papered; there will be a dance performance in St Clare's Church; Rita Duffy has painted six of the Holy Rosary Nuns; Orla Galligan has magicked up some voodoo dolls from recylable materials; and Peter O'Hanlon will give talks (August 13 and 17, 3pm) on how the Harry Clarke windows ended up in the Cathedral - "That's hugely interesting because Harry Clarke windows are world-famous and we don't really know we have them in Cavan," says Joe.
Of course, the more alert amongst us will have already noticed some of the trans-art.cavan works which adorn Cavan's public spaces. Joe brings the Celt to one of the more eye-catching works - world-renowned graffiti artist Maser's enormous mural on Thomas Ashe Street, 'Take Heart'. By projecting the uplifting image onto the gable wall, Maser, with the use of a cherrypicker, spent two nights tracing the outline.
Some of the other street artworks will take a little more observational skills to detect. Joe points to a sticker bearing the message, 'Maser loves you' on an electricity box that the Celt had failed to notice, despite standing right beside it. "You wouldn't even see it," Joe says, "but somebody might just cop it. So it's those subtle little things that help it."
Another notable street art piece - a road-marking at the Market Square pedestrian crossing - has been created by an artist going by the moniker Canvaz. "It just says 'Smile' and people were ringing into the [Northern Sound] radio to say that they really liked it, and it made them smile, which is lovely."
Some of the street art you can enjoy now, however you will have to wait until the weekend of August 11-12 to catch the work of the project's five performance artists.
"There is going to be one guy sitting there covered in mould," enthuses Joe, smiling at how this will be received by the public. "Another guy is going to be sitting in the Kinnypottle [River] as his artpiece; so it's not jugglers or that type of performance - it is actually performance art."
trans-art.cavan looks set to fulfill the curators' aim to "challenge, excite and surprise the viewer". It opens on August 4, 3pm in Cavan Insititute and runs until August 19.