In my home country (Ireland), I grew up under a social pressure to laugh off sexist jokes, for fear of being deemed anything from ‘no craic’, to a bitch. For a long time I followed suit, or buried my head in the sand, not wanting to have to have ‘those conversations’. I didn’t want to waste my energy. But I realised that by ignoring the problem, wouldn’t make it go away & that by calling out sexist behaviour & engaging with people about the topic simply felt right. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t always feel safe.
Reflecting on the culture whereby comments & judgements about women’s bodies pervade not just social & professional spaces, but more intimate situations for women – I wanted to do something with that feeling – the feeling of disempowerment that comes from being judged or slighted or commented on inappropriately. There still seems to be a pretty prevalent entitlement and freedom to openly judge women’s bodies or to take sexually explicit and aggressive talk as light-hearted. I think this behaviour, even today with all our awareness, is still very normalised for women, which is really sad. By handing these comments back – just some that I have personally received this passed year – I wanted to take control and hopefully open up a conversation.
Join me for my first ever performance -‘Things Men Have Said To Me This Year’ – on Sat 16th of September at 18:00pm in Alexanderplatz, Berlin.
Finally finished my latest short documentary about Ireland’s only all boy contemporary dance group ‘Company B’ which objective is to create a unique space for self expression through dance and movement. In Ireland, boys have long been a minority in dance. In this short documentary, members reveal what it’s like for them to dance, how it feels and why they love it.
Directed, Edited & Produced by Tess Motherway
Camera: Jonathan Barton
Last night my new short film ‘8’ saw it’s first private screening. Devised in solidarity with the ‘Repeal the Eighth‘ campaign in Ireland that is fighting for Ireland’s abortion law to be brought to referendum, ‘8’ responds to the lack of choice for women in Ireland regarding bodily autonomy and reproductive choices. ‘Eire’ – the Irish word for Ireland – makes reference to ‘old’ Ireland & symbolises that my body is not my own but, indeed, belongs to Ireland. Abortion is illegal in Ireland, where the Eighth Amendment of the constitution equates the right to life of a pregnant woman with that of an embryo or foetus. In doing so, it criminalises abortion in all cases except where to continue a pregnancy would result in death. Medical practitioners can lose their licence, or face jail time, if they offer advice to women in need of abortions. Every day 12 women are forced to travel to the UK to have abortions and aftercare in Ireland is minimal for those who have to travel.
Spread the word. Keep the conversation going. Repeal the Eighth.
Plunging (literally) into my first (short, but oh so sweet) artist residency in the breathtaking Trélex, Switzerland. It’s taken many years to take myself seriously as an artist, from taking a complete hiatus creatively, to finding my way back slowly through theory, filmmaking, conversation and (thank god for) creative friends. Actually applying and going on a residency is bigger still and although it’s still a challenge to feel comfortable describing myself in those terms – ‘artist’, ‘filmmaker’ – more and more these days I settle into the idea.
Delighted to say that I’ll be heading off to Trelex, close to Geneva, Switzerland, on an artist residency at The Trelex Residency in April 2017. Nina Rodin, who set up the residency says “the Trelex Residency is motivated by my curiosity about the making of all forms of Art. It has been designed on the basis of what I, as an artist, would like from a residency: the Trelex Residency does not ask artists to fill out application forms, to outline an agenda for their stay, to commit to putting on an exhibition, to interact with a particular institution etc… I would like artists to feel free to use their time in Trelex in whichever way seems most productive to them.” While there, I plan to film a new piece ‘8’ with the aim of editing and screening it while in residency. Bring on a creative 2017!
Amongst running the next Dublin Doc Fest – short documentary film festival – back home in Dublin, Ireland, I’m also chipping away at editing my newest short documentary film. Company B are an all-boy contemporary dance group based in inner city Dublin that I saw some years ago in the ‘Bird With Boy’ production by Junk Ensemble as part of Dublin Theatre Festival. The passion and love of dance these boys possessed was so impressive, and to my mind I hadn’t seen anything like it in Ireland before. It took some time before the timing was right to film them, but I was given the opportunity earlier this year by their wonderful choreographer Ciaran Gray who not only matches the boys’ enthusiasm for dance, but is on a mission to encourage boys to dance in Ireland and shed any old ideas or gender biased assumptions of the art. It’s the first creative-themed documentary I’ve embarked on, and editing it is such a pleasure. There’s so many rich, visual avenues to take with editing dance and movement, it allows one to break the rules in a really exciting way. Watch this space…!
Dublin Doc Fest – the short documentary film festival I founded in 2013 – returns for it’s 4th festival screening on Friday Nov 11th 2016 in the stunning exhibition space of Teeling Whiskey Distillery, 13 – 17 New Market Square, Dublin 8. With four exciting documentary film programmes on offer to mark our 4th year, plus after party in the distillery, this will be our largest event yet!
Dublin Doc Fest’s objective is to create a new platform for short documentary film in Ireland – to give it its own space & context for exhibition – in carefully curated programmes. We believe Ireland fosters a high standard of documentary filmmaking. We want to create opportunities for these films to have a longer life – to place Dublin firmly on the map as an international destination for documentary film. Each screening brings together unique stories from some of the most original voices working in documentary film today. We love non-traditional screening spaces & always strive to exhibit our films against the backdrop of Dublin’s most iconic & beloved spaces.
Very excited to be part of group exhibition ‘And Surrender‘ next Wednesday 22nd of June 2016 at SomoS Gallery, Kreuzberg, Berlin.
Curated by Charlotte Colgate of C H a N N E L collective, AND SURRENDER walks a delicate path between perception and misunderstanding. Bringing together multi-disciplinary works from Berlin-based artists; using sound, light, video and performance, AND SURRENDER will plunge you into an immersive world exploring themes of intimacy and autonomy, the limits of our desire, our perversions, and our ubiquitous and tender need for intimacy. My experimental video piece ‘What Was. What Is. What Will Be’ will be included in the show.