From October 1st I will be spending three weeks on a residency at Milford House, the home of Live Art Ireland. The theme for this year’s artist residencies is ‘grass’ and my proposal is to reflect on and develop some new performance material from my relationship with the dairy industry.
Proposal: Having grown up on a dairy farm in West Limerick and now living in Devon, I am familiar with landscapes prioritising a version of grassland, seeking an almost monoculture of grass species, driven by additives to deliver bulk. Dairy cows are exploited to maximise milk production, for consumer products seen as essential. Culturally this industry has been promoted by the Irish State, been part of the story we tell of ourselves to others. Can I find a chink within this edifice to account for the other-than-human, acknowledging species contributing to this landscape system of production and consumption. I want to look at the network of small creameries and cooperatives that developed in the early 20th Century across rural Ireland, and use these as a starting place. I want to look at language and rhythms of this industry, to consider my place within it, and develop text and actions in response.
Some work in progress images and text are up on the Live Art Ireland website now: https://www.live-art.ie/2023/10/05/mark-leahy/