Limerick, Ireland
Henna-Riikka Halonen, 10% Glass Mountain (Szklana Góra), 2008, mixed media installation with video, 8 minutes

Henna-Riikka Halonen

b. 1975, Finland

The Irish are well known as immigrants, having reputably a greater population living abroad than in Ireland. But, also, immigration in Ireland and consequently in Limerick is increasing. Apparently the Polish, the largest ethnic group in Ireland, now make up about 10% of Limerick’s workforce. The Polish are contemporary nomads, settling around Europe and the world. They have a proud tradition, which will not survive, however, simply through nostalgia, but must struggle with the dominant modernity and lack of freedom.

In this project I worked with ten Polish builders currently living in Limerick city. They became protagonists of a theatrical performance which functions as a surreal spectacle, both bizarre and poetic, influenced by the ‘social anarchy’ of constructivist theatre. The dimension of the construction, based on a Polish folktale, The Glass Mountain, uses the principle of inhabiting 10% of the lobby area of Limerick City Hall.

For this project I drew from my personal experience, but also from my growing interest in belonging and migration, and specific situations when friction is created through encounters. Questions are: Does belonging require invisibility? How are invisibility and temporariness linked? Are those the main ingredients of belonging and the construction of personal territory within another territory? How are communities shaped when different cultural and personal ingredients are brought together? What happens when art practice gets involved with the structures that organise communication and community?

(Text: too early for vacation catalogue, 2008)

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