Tim Robinson’s (1935 – 2020) extraordinary work continues to inspire a generation of nature writers, cultural geographers, map makers, artists, musicians, and scholars concerned with recording and preserving our natural world and cultural heritage.
Over the last forty years, Robinson’s rich body of work comprising writings, drawings and paintings document the deep geography, history and culture of what he refers to as the ‘ABC of earth wonders’ – the Aran Islands, the Burren, and Connemara. Through the process of detailing and recording specific places, Robinson immerses us in a rich historic language of abstraction and geometry to offer vital considerations for the contemporary moment.
Our guests come together to reflect on Robinson’s lifelong existential project of an embodied knowing, mapping and becoming one with a community and place, and rejoicing in sounds of the past, the inherit language we breathe, and cherishing our vital co-existence with the natural world. Invited guests Nessa Cronin, John Levack Drever, Christina Kennedy, Lillis Ó Laoire, Susan Stenger will offer further reflection on Robinson’s life and work, that most resonate within their fields of Irish literature, cultural geography, visual art, folklore and sound art. The evening’s programme comprises a roundtable conversation, singing and sound work compositions.
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An evening celebration of the life and work of IMMA Collection artist Tim Robinson, featuring conversation, sound-work, music and song with special guests. These events will take place in the IMMA Courtyard. Free, booking require. Book here.
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In the spirit of the Tim Robinson’s much celebrated Roundstone Conversations and coming together of friends, artists, scholars and musicians, this roundtable discussion looks at an interdisciplinary set of interests in Tim Robinsons work. Robinson’s intense and immersive process of mapping, walking, drawing, recording the Connemara landscape and community continues to inspire many generations to come. Our guests discuss how Robinson continues to influence their ideas and research, that revolves around a cycle of genres spanning art, sound, music, mapmaking, language, ecology and landscape.
Responses will be situated within the people, place and deep time and space of Connemara, drawing on the rich holdings of visual artworks that are part of the IMMA Collection, alongside Tim Robinson extensive archive.
Conversation Guests: Nessa Cronin, Assistant Professor in Irish Studies and Associate Director of the Moore Institute for the Humanities and Social Studies at University of Galway, Ireland; Christina Kennedy, Head of IMMA Collection; John Levack Drever, Professor of Acoustic Ecology and Sound Art, Goldsmith, UK; Susan Stenger, sound artist and composer of the music for Pat Collins’ film Tim Robinson: Connemara and Lillis Ó Laoire, sean-nós singer from Co. Donegal, who teaches courses in Irish language, folklore and Celtic Civilisation in the School of Irish, University of Galway.
Featuring responses that span sound art, field recordings, electronica, spoken word to traditional instrumentation and song. Guests present us with a transformation of sonic scenes that echoes the Irish landscape and Robinson’s deep immersion within it.
Responses include new sound works composed by John Levack Drever and Susan Stenger and singing by Lillis Ó Laoire who performs a number of songs learned from the great Connemara master, Joe Heaney, in homage to Tim and Mairéad Robinson.
Artist, writer and cartographer, Tim Robinson was born in Yorkshire, England in 1935. He studied mathematics at Cambridge and worked as a visual artist in Istanbul, Vienna and London among other places. In 1972 he moved to Aran Islands, Ireland and began writing and making maps. He is the author of ‘Stones of Aran’ and the acclaimed trilogy published by Penguin ‘Connemara: Listening to the Wind’, ‘Connemara: The Last Pool of Darkness’ and ‘Connemara: A Little Gaelic Kingdom’.
His maps of the Aran Islands, Connemara and Burren in Co. Clare are printed by Folding Landscapes, a publishing house set up by him and his wife Máiréad in 1984 in Roundstone, Connemara where they both lived until 2015. Robert Macfarlane describes ‘Listening to the Wind’ as “one of the most remarkable nonfiction projects undertaken in English.” Robinson was twice recipient of the Irish Book Award.
Nessa Cronin is Assistant Professor in Irish Studies and Associate Director of the Moore Institute for the Humanities and Social Studies at University of Galway, Ireland. As an interdisciplinary scholar she has published widely on various aspects of Irish Literature and Cultural Geography exploring issues concerning place, language, translation and identity in contemporary Irish and European cultures.
Christina Kennedy, Senior Curator and Head of IMMA Collections.
John Levack Drever is Professor of Acoustic Ecology and Sound Art at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he leads the Unit for Sound Practice Research (SPR). In 2001 he was awarded a PhD from Dartington College of Arts, for a programme of research titled Phonographies: Practical and Theoretical Explorations into Composing with Disembodied Sound. During 2003-04 he was an Arts Council of England & AHRB Arts and Science Research Fellow with Centre for Computational Creativity, City University exploring ‘electronic music performance interfaces that learn from their users’. He was awarded a Diploma in Acoustics and Noise Control from the Institute of Acoustics in 2012, with specialist modules in Building Acoustics and Environmental Noise, becoming a full member of the Institute of Acoustics in 2013.
Lillis Ó Laoire is a Professor of Irish at the University of Galway, teaching courses in folklore, literature and Celtic Civilisation. A Donegal native, he has researched the song traditions of Tory, thereby increasing the profile the songs and singing style of the island. In 2011, with Sean Williams, of Evergreen State College, Olympia, he published a biography of Seosamh Ó hÉanaí, Joe Heaney, which was awarded the Alan P. Merriam prize for best monograph by the Society for Ethnomusicology in 2012. An accompanying website, promotes greater access and understanding of Joe Heaney’s song tradition. Ó Laoire’s research is informed by his artistic practice as a singer, engaging with performance especially of Donegal song. As a student of Heaney’s life and singing, he also sings a number of songs learned from the great Conamara master and will perform a selection of them in homage to Tim and Mairéad Robinson at this event.
Susan Stenger is a performer and sound artist whose practice transcends boundaries. An accomplished flautist and specialist in performing the music of John Cage and Phill Niblock, she was also a founder of wall-of-guitars group Band of Susans and all-bass art band Big Bottom and has collaborated with an eclectic range of artists. Her layered solo sound installations embrace forms, patterns and systems from both the natural world and human constructs. She has composed soundtracks for Laura Gannon’s Silver House (2015), Jesse Jones’ Tremble, Tremble (2017 Venice Biennale) and Ailbhe Ní Bhriain’s Inscriptions of an Immense Theatre (2018). Her music was featured in Pat Collins’ 2011 film, Tim Robinson: Connemara, about the renowned writer and cartographer. Stenger’s soundtrack was based on a study of Irish sean nós singing, the Connemara landscape, and a close reading of Robinson’s work.
Listen back to Stenger on finding the musical form of Tim Robinson’s Connemara, here.
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