Since May 2019, I have been artist-in-residence at Killruddery House & Gardens in Bray, County Wicklow as part of a practice-based PhD at SMARTlab part of Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland, University College Dublin, and generously funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC). My principal supervisor is the wonderful Prof. Lizbeth Goodman, Director and co-founder of SMARTlab.
Killruddery is a beautiful estate with original 17th century ornamental gardens, home to the Brabazon family and seat of the hereditary title, the Earl of Meath. The family’s ancestor Sir William Brabazon was brought over to Ireland by King Henry VIII during the dissolution of the monasteries and rose to the rank of Vice-Chancellor. For his loyal service he was gifted the former St.Thomas’ Abbey in The Liberties, Dublin in 1539, and the estate came with a summer house for the monks at Killruddery. The family have been living at Killruddery since 1618 and their archives trace a long and complex history of their life in Ireland.
The Ancestors’ explores a hauntology of the Killruddery House & Gardens archives, using records belonging to the Brabazon family as source material to produce an interactive and immersive sonic experience through re-enactment, field recordings and sonic enchantment, accompanied by the voice of a ghostly poet-philosopher, The Keeper of the Archives.
During the research, I collected hundreds of hours of binaural field recordings gleaned from soundwalking the estate, talking to the family, becoming intimate with the architecture, landscape and archives. The resulting hauntological sound trail utilises geo-location inspired by so-called Stone Tape Theory to summon the sonic revenants of the archive within the grounds of the estate. Stone Tape Theory asserts that the phenomena of ghosts can be understood as ancient ‘tape recordings’ captured by old buildings through a form of sound writing or phonography, and that through technological intervention, these spectres can be replayed as if they were archive recordings.
The Ancestors is hosted on Echoes.xyz.
The project is funded by the Irish Research Council and the Killruddery Estate