Ormston House, in partnership with EVA International and Making Histories Visible, invites you to the listening event, My Voice is Still Lost, a new quadrophonic sound installation by Linda O’Keeffe (IE/UK) created as part of the evolving Murder Machine project curated by Christine Eyene in collaboration with Ormston House.
My Voice is Still Lost explores The Murder Machine by Pádraig Pearse (1916) and Irish Declaration of Independence (1919), two pieces of writing relating to Ireland’s transition from a colonised space to a free state and the impact this had on Irish society and Irish women.
Artist statement: “Neither text was taught to me when I was in school or college, and even though I knew about the Easter Rising and the civil war, it was more through word of mouth, television programmes or some event happening in Northern Ireland. Having explored both texts, I realised that they emphasized a strong goal of equality and solidarity among all Irish people, men and women, as the expected outcome of freedom from British rule. Yet under home rule the rights of society, and especially women, were fundamentally repressed by the Church and the State: a colonising of our minds and bodies through the rigid structures of Catholicism. There seems to be a link between our lack of knowledge of these texts and this repression in society. If we were not taught the ideals of these thinkers and rebels then perhaps we would never rebel against this new rule.
The work involved me talking to different women and asking them if they remembered learning these texts or what they knew about the rising, most said they knew very little, that it had little or no impact on their daily lives and that they felt that perhaps they should have known, like it was a blank spot in their history.
The use of male voices in the piece highlights how even those who sought to challenge colonisation, to bring about equality, and to speak for the masses were still part of the male hierarchical systems. Though there were women who placed themselves on the front line for the rights and freedoms of Irish people, what followed did not in fact enhance their rights or freedoms.
To me, the continued suppression of women’s rights that occurred after the civil war and independence from Britain has in fact meant that we remained a colonised group whose identity was shaped by those who had no interest in our needs or rights. Though a lot has changed in the past twenty years there is still a great need for more change and for more women’s voices in the fight for equality within Irish society. This only occurs through accessing knowledge and understanding that the fight for our rights is not a new concept.”
The artist would like to thank all of the people who contributed their voices and thoughts to the making of this work: Sheena Barrett, Fionnuala Conway, Jennie Guy, Brona Martin, Susanne Smith, Sarah O’Keeffe-Nolan, Harry Moore, Scot McLaughlin, Mick O’Shea, Andrew Quick, Charlie Geer, Ian Heywood, Gerald Davies and Tony Doyle.
About the artist
Linda O’Keeffe (b. 1975, Dublin) is a sound artist based in Lancaster, England. She is a tenured lecturer at the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University. She lectures in sound studies and is the MA convenor of Art by Research program. She is the founder of the Women in Sound Women on Sound organisation, president of the Irish Sound Science and Technology Association, and editor for the Interference journal.
O’Keeffe has exhibited in China the USA, Canada and Europe. Recent work includes a commissioned solo exhibition for the Leitrim Sculpture Centre in 2014, Spaces of Sound and Radio Spaces, and the touring of a selection of sonic works from this exhibition, in the UK, for the Full of Noises Festival 2015.
Her work is predominantly sound based with a focus on installation and performance as well as soundscape studies. In 2014, she was a recipient of the Irish Research Council’s New Foundations Award for Research and worked with older adults in the design of sound art using gesture-based audio technologies.
Linda O’Keeffe: My Voice is Still Lost
Listening event Thursday 12 May, 6-7pm
A preview of My Voice is Still Lost was featured on RTÉ’s Nova programme
The sound installation remains to the end of Murder Machine, 17 July.
9-10 Patrick Street
Wed – Sat | 12 – 6pm
For more information, please contact: