Film installation/performance: 18min duration. National college of art and design. Graduation show 2015. Funded by NCAD Graduation Staff prize.
With the decay and decline of industrial factories so to have the workers departed, gone is their ritual of work, their process, their daily routine and the culture which surrounded them.
Consisting of four celluloid projectors this film installation explores the loss of the workers ritual and how industrial ruins can be seen as a materialization of memory. Positioned in the engine room of the former Powers whiskey distillery (located in the now National college of art and design, Dublin) this installation works with the fabric of this building to highlight the importance of its post-industrial setting.
With this context in mind I travelled to Cuba in January 2015 to seek inspiration, to witness and film traditional modes of mechanical production in daily rituals. Cuba it’s Daily Ritual 2015 is a film that I shot to offer a glimpse into the ritual of work and life in the workshops, plantations, harbours and streets of Cuba today. From Havana’s dawn rush hour, to a lazy hot afternoon on Pinar del Rio plantations, to the twilight social clubs; a fading way of life is captured.
A video walk through of The Workers Ritual film installation.
Cuba, its Daily Ritual, 2015. Shot in January 2015. This film offers a glimpse into the ritual of work and life in the workshops, plantations, harbours and streets of Cuba today.
Accompanying 16mm found footage, Distillery Workers Prepare Sugar Beets 1935 is an industrial labour film showing the ritual of the factory worker in the preparing of sugar ready to be used in the whiskey process. Havana Cuba 1928 is a 16mm home movie shot by an unknown Los Angeles family; it explores the streets of 1920’s Havana. Here we witness porters unloading cargo at the docks, local children skinny dipping, traders selling exotic wears, fine diners and businessmen in top hats. We see the family enjoying rum in a bar with locals during this time of US prohibition. US and Cuba News Reels is a 16mm film from the 1960’s which traces back the intertwined relationship of US-Cuban travel and trade.
Cuba, its Daily Ritual, 2015. Workers at a tobacco plantation.
Cuba, its Daily Ritual, 2015. ‘Havana at twilight’. From Havana’s dawn rush hour, to a hot afternoon on Pinar del Rio plantations, to the twilight social clubs; a fading way of life is captured.
1960s News reels, 16mm (Super Sound) ‘Us and Cuban News Reels’ is a 16mm film from the 1960’s which traces back the intertwined relationship of US-Cuban travel and trade.
This work traces the ritual of labour and touches upon the politics and culture surrounding the distilling trade. In this act of bringing sounds of machinery back to this former distillery engine room, it was with hope to make this industrial space come alive again. And in a sense revive and celebrate the ritual of the former distiller.
The piece uses celluloid film of a pre-digital mechanical manufacture era within its visual language. An audio-walk offered in the form of headphones as the participant enters prompts them to take a physical journey around the space as well as an imagined one. It was written so that it can be listened to whether the projectors were on or not.
Images from Bacardi Santiago de Cuba and Powers Distillery Archives
Magic Lantern slides made from my own photographing and from Powers/Bacardi Santago de Cuba Archives are placed within the machinery to offer an additional visual journey.