Art in focus: My Comfort and Joy, by Seamus Harahan and Thomas McCarthy

Harahan’s video piece aims to convey McCarthy’s musical and cultural heritage

Still from My Comfort and Joy, Seamus Harahan and Thomas McCarthy

Still from My Comfort and Joy, Seamus Harahan and Thomas McCarthy

What is it?

My Comfort and Joy

How was it done? Harahan filmed McCarthy over a period of several months. He uses a Sony Hi8 video recorder dating from the 1990s, producing video on a par with the Super-VHS format (with which it was designed to compete), and with good-quality sound-recording capability. During this time they visited the burial place of McCarthy’s paternal grandfather in north Leitrim, went to “a squat party in Dublin

”, an event with the Irish community in Leeds – Only Towers and Cement, featuring some of Harahan’s videos and a live performance by McCarthy – and the Willie Clancy Summer School in Co Clare. Harahan deliberately does not aim for a conventional documentary narrative form, rather he has “collected songs and fragments of a fragmented history”. The presentation in the gallery is similarly fragmentary, creating a landscape of recordings through which visitors can choose their own paths.

Where can I see it ?

Gallery 1, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College Dublin, September 19th-November 17th, douglashydegallery.com.

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