Audio Guide
The Irish Pavilion 
Artist: Eimear Walshe
Curated by Sara Greavu and Project Arts Centre 
Audio description 3 minutes

Audio Guide Transcription
In the Irish pavilion is a sculpture made out of compressed earth walls which creates a perimeter, like the footprint of an Irish cottage. The texture of this earth material is rough, but it has been formed into straight walls, which vary between the height of a bar counter and the height of a bench.

Moss green velvet buttoned cushions are placed for visitors to sit on top of the low bench-like parts of the sculpture. The earth material that the sculpture is made of changes colour as it dries. If you’re visiting in mid-April, the colour of the sculpture is a pale mousey brown, but if you’re visiting later in the year, it will have changed to a soft mushroomy grey.

Six TV screens are attached back-to-back, onto three metal stands, which emerge directly out of the earth walls. From either side of the room, the TV screens create a triptych.

Across these screens, performers appear in character wearing olive green latex face masks. The masks are skintight and don’t allow the performer’s expression to change much, apart from through holes for the mouth and the eyes. Instead, the characters communicate with each other through glances, gestures and touch.  

Their movements range from calm cooperation to frenzied activity, and even violent exchanges. We see close ups of their eyes, mud spattered clothing, hands digging in clay, feet stamping, toes submerged in mud.

The seven performers are dressed in period costume, but from different times in Irish history. One wears a traditional 19th century dress and apron, another wears a synthetic knit jumper, common to rural Irish men in the 80s and 90s, another wears a gilet, chinos, and a lanyard, like he’s on his way to work at a tech company.
The characters act out scenes of domestic life, love and conflict and betrayal. They take breaks from the drama to attend to the building site that they are performing from. They in turn are building with earth, creating a structure similar to the one the visitor is standing in.

The videos move between fast paced cuts and longer slow-motion shots. They are cut to the rhythm of the music in the space, an opera also called Romantic Ireland, composed by Amanda Feery. The opera plays from four speakers installed on the walls beside the benches. The words of the libretto are captioned in bright green.
A repeating line in the opera’s libretto reads: 

They come to make a ruin.

On the relationship between the video, the sculpture and the opera, the artist says:

“There's a before, during and after in the life of a building at play. A building site is depicted in the video, the opera describes an eviction, and the sculpture stands as ruin.”