Beyond the ninth wave
Beyond the ninth wave is a landscape of memory explored through photographic images and lumen prints made with turf, from the island of Inishfree, County Donegal.
This body of work explores the ideas behind The Screamers, a group who promoted de-programming from the modern world through therapeutic self-development and environmental self-sufficiency while living in their commune, Atlantis. They lived on Inishfree island for ten years in the 1980’s.
The members of the commune were collectively nicknamed ‘The Screamers’ referring to their practice of primal scream therapy, which was to release deep rooted imprinted pain.
On reflecting on The Screamer’s time in Donegal, the most poignant thing for me was how repressed Ireland was in relation to sex, women and education, all contrary to the Screamers liberal attitude. Years of repression from colonisation, the Catholic Church and subsequent poverty led to a society that was so full of pain and trauma but with no healthy means of release. This Donegal landscape could be seen as a metaphorical biography, one where trauma has played a significant role.
Along with taking pictures, I started experimenting with ways to represent this intangible memory of the landscape in a more tangible and visceral way than just straight photography. This led to months of experimenting with different processes, trying to figure out a way to better express the physicality of the landscape.
Eventually, I started making Lumen prints with turf from the island.
The turf, which has been created over thousands of years, and the process of impressing that memory into a physical print with the sun, allowed a different representation of the landscape.
When put together as triptychs, they started to resemble sound-waves.
The process of collecting turf and making these lumen prints was a very physical yet therapeutic endeavour. The remoteness and isolation of the island, aswell as the simplicity of life and raw natural beauty led to a different internal dynamic, I realised it was a place to heal.
The title refers to the otherworld islands of peace and eternal life that lie beyond the ninth wave, according to Irish mythology. These islands are thought to be off the west coast of Ireland in the Atlantic.
The images are rooted in a real place but hope to bring the viewer closer to the imagined island beyond the ninth wave.