/ September 7, 2023

Oscailt Merges Ireland’s Rich Cultural Past With a Changing Future

Photo Credit: Oscailt
/ September 7, 2023

Oscailt Merges Ireland’s Rich Cultural Past With a Changing Future

Words: Dray Morgan

Vocalist, improviser and composer Jennifer Walshe bends reality with the help of students from all over Ireland for a Dublin Fringe performance as well as a national tour. The multidisciplinary display will combine film, improvisation, artificial intelligence (AI), and live performance.

Students from five schools will collaborate with Walshe and her ensemble of professional musicians on an extraordinary multi-media show named Oscailt. The performance is set to be launched by Music Network as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival on 19 September. For over a decade composer and performer Walshe has been exploring in depth how technology relates to twenty-first-century Ireland. In this new show, a collaboration with the performers and improvisers Panos Ghikas, Elizabeth Hilliard, and Nick Roth, Walshe continues to develop these themes. Elements of the show have been developed with the participating school students, Ireland’s new digital natives, and Walshe utilises artificial intelligence in the creation of the piece to distort visuals of traditional and present-day Ireland.

In Oscailt, Jennifer Walshe delves into the dichotomy between the old and new worlds of Ireland. With phone towers next to holy wells and data centres tending to beehives like traditional medieval monks, the musical performance looks at how the modern day is a strange platform displaying the intermingling of the futuristic and ancient.

The project has taken Walshe to some of the most culturally rich areas of the country such as The Giant’s Causeway and The Hill of Tara. However, it also took her to some of the most culturally relevant places in Ireland today, such as the silicone docks of Dublin which houses tech giants at the foundation of the Irish economy.

Electromagnetic sounds combined with visuals manipulated by artificial intelligence have been utilised from these sites to create an intense multidisciplinary performance. Merging the everpresence of the past and the apprehensiveness of new technologies paints a unique image of Ireland, diverging from convention.

Jennifer Walshe has almost 25 years of experience in pushing the boundaries of music. She has been the recipient of fellowships and prizes internationally. Her recent work ‘The Site of Investigation’, recently performed at the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Walshe as a soloist for BBC Proms. Alongside her, instrumentalists Elizabeth Hilliard, Nick Roth, Panos Ghikas bring the world to life.

Throughout the national tour, students from all corners of Ireland will join the performance. Through a series of workshops, the students will explore and create sounds using the instrumental, vocal, and computer improvisation techniques that will be incorporated into the final live performances on the national tour.

Oscailt Tour Dates:

19 September – 19:30 – Samuel Beckett Theatre

20 September – 20:00 – Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Kildare

21 September – 20:00 – Belltable, LImerick

23 September – 20:00 – Triskel Christchurch, Cork

26 September – 20:00 – Linenhall Arts Centre Castlebar

Tickets are available here

Elsewhere on District: “Banshees” and “An Cailín Ciúin” earn multiple BAFTA film nominations