Voicing the Bridge. Celebrating free movement.

Visual artist Jan-Erik Andersson’s contribution to the Voicing the Bridge, an international happening/arts and film-making project in Clady, Northern Ireland, includes a film made using footage from the day. It is not a traditional documentary. The film aims at addressing these complicated issues concerning ’free movement’ in a very surreal way, spreading a message of love and happiness out to a pretty messed up world. It also stresses the importance of preserving a variety of pollinators, the life supporting natural border crossers, whose existence is in danger. Please, share the film!

Voicing the Bridge, an international happening/arts and film-making project arranged by Jan-Erik Andersson, Eileen Hutton and Robert Powell, took place in Clady, Northern Ireland in July 2019. It was inspired by the extraordinary 17th century bridge that traverses the River Finn where it forms the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. It was realized through an open call by the Finnish Institute in London for art projects concerning borders and free movement.  Andersson, Hutton and Powell invited local artists from a range of disciplines to create a day of imaginative performance, conversation, and participation for everyone, using the river and bridge as a creative location and metaphor to address the universal issue of free movement. The project imaginatively addressed the very current question of ‘borders’– both as barriers for people and goods to move freely – and as psychological, cultural, even spiritual, lines of division which can hinder people and communities from developing in harmony.  Indoors and out, there were happenings and events throughout the day – ecology and biodiversity workshops by Hutton, poetry and choral performances by Powell and Ruth McPhillips and the Voices of the Foyle Choir, experimental free movement demonstrations by the performance group BBeyond.  The Grand Finale was a procession and ‘car horn orchestra’ taking place on Clady Bridge. All visitors were invited to contribute thoughts, words and drawings to decorate a bench and sculptural scale model of Clady Bridge, designed by Andersson. The bench-sculpture was left as a gift to be used by the community after the event. 

The international happening/arts and film-making project was a part of the Earagail Arts Festival. In collaboration with the Clady Cross-Community Development Association. Invited artists: BBeyond performance group, Ruth McPhillips, and the Voices of the Foyle Choir ~ Glórtha an Fheabail. Clady Community Hall, Clady Village, Northern Ireland, 2019.

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