Corn Work (Corrib) 2020

Corn Work (Corrib) 2020 recalls histories of water power and grain milling in Galway City, Ireland. Four local folk figures, the Straw Boys, remade virtually, perform a symbolic wheel of production. Changing with the seasons, each character walks a quarter wheel, turns across one spoke, emerges and walks another quarter, in time performing a synchronised solar wheel through day and night across the year. They dance alongside and in dialogue with the strong flow of the River Corrib which once provided energy for the city’s many dismantled flour mills. Through digital means ideas of flow, exchange and sustainability are performed into perpetuity and in dialogue with the immediate landscape.
 


To achieve the work dancers, wearing motion capture suits, originally walked, danced and performed in a studio setting. This series of motions was captured and converted into data. In time motion matching and neural networks generate the ongoing infinite choreography for the characters we see in the work. The performances were developed in close dialogue with movement analyst Esther Balfe, alongside input from the dancers themselves: Stephanie Dufresne (Spring), Ursula Robb (Summer), Justine Cooper (Autumn), and Raymond Keane (Winter). Each season sees a different historic grain of Ireland represented in the straw suits, developed by Gerardine Wisdom: Spring uses barley, Summer uses oats, Autumn uses rye and Winter uses wheat.

The portrait of Galway city and the River Corrib emerged from a 3D scan of the scene. This base material was modelled into a careful representation within a game engine, which produces the work in realtime across day and night and throughout the year. At night the characters are illuminated by a virtual spotlight. 

Corn Work (Corrib) 2020 was commissioned by Galway International Arts Festival for Galway2020, European Capital of Culture. 

The work was presented at Claddagh Quay, Galway upon a substantial Mirror Pavilion with
 three sides and roof clad in a mirror polished metal and the fourth wall a high–resolution LED wall 3 - 26 September, 2020.

In February 2021 Corn Work travels to the Gwangju Biennial, South Korea.  

Producer: Werner Poetzelberger
Programmer: Helmut Bressler
CG Character Modelling: Max Loegler
CG Character Rigs and Skinning: Arx Anima
Environment development: Werner Poetzelberger
Movement Analyst: Esther Balfe
Dancers: Stephanie Dufresne (Spring), Ursula Robb (Summer), Justine Cooper (Autumn), and Raymond Keane (Winter)
Development Dancers: Siobhan Manson, Lucy West and Ben Sullivan
Drone Photography: The Drone Guys
Straw suit development: Gerardine Wisdom
Grain Farmers: Dan Fogarty (Wheaten straw), Gunther Falkenthal (Rye Straw), Ruairiadh and Marie Deasy (Barley and Oat Straw)
Associate Producer (Galway): Declan Gibbons
Line Producer (Vienna): Caroline Ecker
3D Realtime Engine: Unigine
Installation development: Jakob Illera / Inseq Design
GIAF Chief Executive: John Crumlish
GIAF Artistic Director & Mirror Pavilion producer: Paul Fahy
Financial Controller: Gerry Cleary

 

Exhibitions

Galway International Arts Festival / Galway 2020 at Claddagh Quay, Galway, 2020

3 - 26 September, 2020

CORN WORK (CORRIB) 2020 was presented at Claddagh Quay, Galway upon a substantial pavilion with three sides and roof clad in a mirror polished metal and the fourth wall a high–resolution LED wall 

As the viewer approached the Mirror Pavilion structure, they saw themselves reflected in the mirrored walls. On the LED screen they experienced a virtual representation of the landscape in which the structure is situated overlaid by four local folk figures, the Straw Boys, remade virtually, who perform a symbolic wheel of production. Changing with the seasons, each character walks a quarter wheel, turns across one spoke, emerges and walks another quarter, in time performing a synchronised solar wheel through day and night and across the year. They dance alongside and in dialogue with the strong flow of the River Corrib which once provided energy for the city’s many flour mills. Through digital means ideas of flow, exchange and sustainability are performed into perpetuity and in dialogue with the immediate landscape.

Mirror Pavillion / Corn Work was commissioned by Galway International Arts Festival for Galway2020, European Capital of Culture. 

https://www.giaf.ie/tours/mirror-pavilion

Research

2020 · GALWAY INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL / GALWAY 2020 / CLADDAGH QUAY, GALWAY
Photographer Ros Kavanagh
2020 · GALWAY INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL / GALWAY 2020 / CLADDAGH QUAY, GALWAY
Photographer Ros Kavanagh
2020 · GALWAY INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL / GALWAY 2020 / CLADDAGH QUAY, GALWAY
Photographer Ros Kavanagh
2020 · GALWAY INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL / GALWAY 2020 / CLADDAGH QUAY, GALWAY
Photographer Ros Kavanagh
2020 · GALWAY INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL / GALWAY 2020 / CLADDAGH QUAY, GALWAY
Photographer Colm Hogan
2020 · GALWAY INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL / GALWAY 2020 / CLADDAGH QUAY, GALWAY
Photographer Ros Kavanagh
Photograph of four strawboys outside at Lios Buí Photographer : George Pickow Ritchie-Pickow Collection, NUI Galway  Reproductions are subject to the NUI Galway Library Archives conditions of access
  Photograph of a man and woman preparing straw for strawboys in a barn at Lios Buí. Photographer : George Pickow Ritchie-Pickow Collection, NUI Galway   Reproductions are subject to the NUI Galway Library Archives conditions of access
  Photograph of a group of strawboys at Lios Buí. Photographer : George Pickow Ritchie-Pickow Collection, NUI Galway   Reproductions are subject to the NUI Galway Library Archives conditions of access
John Gerrard working with prototype straw boy figure in Dublin 2019  Photographer Gerardine Wisdom  
John Gerrard (pictured) prototyping straw boy characters in North Tipperary with Gerardine Wisdom. 
Straw suit production image, Vienna 

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