Joyce's Tower, Sandycove, County Dublin
Bathing place of Samuel Beckett
Taking the poem chairs miraculeuse, the title itself for a start would have to be inspired by Lois Oppenheim's Keynote opening presentation which was a phenomenological exploration of How It Is while also being a comparative study using the paintings of Agnes Martin to contrast some of the ideas she was exploring while examining Beckett's final attempt at a full length novel. chairs miraculeuse as the body as the first point of contact in Oppenheim's exploration through which all data filters through to consciousness; events past, present and futural, as indeed they are set down in Beckett's work; 'avant Pim avec Pim apres Pim'. Evoking also such figures as Merleau Ponty, Oppenheim's examination sees similarities in Beckett's tightly ordered universe and Martin's later abstract paintings, all representation having been abandoned, till only form, in the shape of the painter's lines, or the writer's fragments of prose remain, the sole trace of events past or present, or indeed yet to come.
Derval Tubridy's exploration of Gare Saint Lazare Ireland's stage production of How It Is part 1 is the work signaled in the opening collocation of the poem voice embodied as she explores the first stage production of Beckett's epic work of prose, while contrasting GSLI's production with other works of contemporary art such as the mammoth installation by Polish artist Miroslav Balka's using the title How It Is by Beckett as a starting point. Theme's of intimacy in the face of public horror and atrocity are conjoined.
The poet Fergal Gaynor's wonderful presentation When the Panting Stops is alluded to in the lines spirited in breath. Gaynor's text explores the singular idea of breath and breathing in relation to Comment c'est /How It Is. The terms 'spiritus' and 'anima' and their varying correspondences being put to wonderful use. The text was loaded with pathos, as Beckett nursed both his brother Frank, while dying of cancer, and his mother, their last breaths, particularly the former, leaving the author particularly traumatised. Such personal details of the author were being treated with great sensitivity by the poet, and yet also with humour, as indeed one would expect in a text about Beckett.
gloriously heroic then being significant in relation to Giambattista Vico's second age, it being the 'heroic', and so relating to violence and war. The ashplant then evoking Joyce, author of Finnegans Wake a work whose influence on Comment c'est/How It Is is only beginning to be explored.
tap tapping away being a reference to Sarah Jane Scaife's street presentations, installations, performances of Beckett's shorter prose works on the streets of Dublin, for whom Beckett's work has enormous significance for Scaife; the very streets themselves being physical embodiments of Beckett's, peopled as they are with the detritus of society in the form of street people of all sorts, castaways eking out an existence on the capitol's streets.
scent of Rose a reference to Feargal Whelan's very poignant discourse on Beckett's reading of Roger Casement's Black Diaries while composing Cc/HII. A text which for Whelan is full of grotesque horror while at the same time being 'interrupted' by moments, or passages, rather, of extreme lyrical beauty. These passages being signified in the motif of the butterfly, in Beckett's text, the 'Rose', as it were.
The superlative performance, or presentation, without a doubt, has to go to the wunderkind Anthony Cordingley. His curation of the Digital Beckett Project was simply a wonder to behold, particularly arresting was his exploration of the name Hamilton via the search engines and the Proustian meanderings of possibility which came up. Fitzgerald's denotes the pantheon of pathways indicated by a mere sign.
sequestering a wood pigeon fellow panelist Hannah Simpson, who kicked off the conference after Oppenheim's film ( she could not attend the symposium due to a broken leg), explored pain in the Beckettian arena. Pain and consciousness. Funny how Dublin produced the two greatest artists who explored this theme so compulsively in the twentieth century, the other being of course Francis Bacon. The wood pigeon, like Beckett's many characters, enjoys mere respites, while awaiting the next prolonged agony, Simpson is interested in the artists attestation of its mortal agony, in between bouts of delirium and laughter.
The actors Conor Lovett and Stephen Dillane are, of course, the two men reading in a room. And what a reading did they give us, and in what a room! Up in the library of the Crawford Art Gallery. What a privilege it was to see these two great actors perform part 2 in a private reading in this way. To see both men embody the voices proper. They were superlative. Enough said. Very much looking forward to experiencing the full production in September.
the architects a reference to Gareth Evans and his absolutely hilarious quip about the toilet doors in the Crawford Art Gallery whose cathedral like dimensions, according to Evans, instigate Beckettian like encounters with fellow users, so confining are they once opened.
have done with the plans s a reference to Tom Creed, Gerry Dukes who I replaced, due to his health he had to pull out, and Barry McGovern who have all put on prose productions of Beckett also, in the past. In particular Tom Creed who spoke so wonderfully about his engagements with McGovern while producing Watt, in and out of the Gate.
miraculous flesh all Judy you whose dream it was to "reinvent spaces", be they Freemason halls or novels!
Once again, many thanks for the day of wonder that was in it.