“Carved in stone over the entrance to Armagh Robinson Library is an inscription in Greek, which translates as ’the healing place of the soul’. The creative team must surely have had that phrase in mind as they set about devising this hypnotic, soothing dance-poetry film, in which three dancers delicately flit and flutter along shelves and through pages, as though ‘on the powdered wings of butterflies.” Jane Coyle
Quotidian is delighted to present BIND at the Belfast International Arts Festival. A sumptuous poetry and dance film set in the exquisite Robinson Library in Armagh, BIND explores the legacy of binds between past and present, the tension between elevation, elites and access to knowledge, progress and change, the visibility and constraints on women, and how a visionary institution contributes to progress in the modern world.
This innovative contemporary dance and poetry film has been created in the Armagh Robinson Library, to celebrate its 250th anniversary. When he died, Archbishop Robinson requested that all his personal correspondence be burned and destroyed. In 2019, the poet Maria McManus ran an international letter-writing campaign to ‘fill the void’ left behind, with new letters. Hundreds of letters were received from people of all ages, and from across the globe. The subjects written about included contemporary issues, and also letters to the dead, the lost, the imagined, to the future, to the past, to the inner self, and to public figures.
The film explores the theme of ‘binding’ in several ways – the binding of books, as bonds across time and generations, in the costumes, and metaphorically linking corsetry to constraints on women and access to education and expression of the body, written and spoken words. The Robinson Library is also a character in the film, which was recorded there in July 2021
BIND is a collaboration between choreographer Eileen McClory, poet Maria McManus, composer Katie Richardson, costume designer Úna Hickey, and filmmaker Conan McIvor. The dancers are Ryan O’Neill, Clara Kerr and Rosie Mullin. The poet Bebe Ashley translated the chosen lines to sign language, which formed the basis for development of the movement sequences. Voice-over is by Roisín Gallagher.
Photo credit: Michael McEvoy Dancer: Claire Kerr