Installation shot of 'Rest here', a four channel sound installation by Michael McLoughlin, 2016
UCD Sutherland School of Law
Rest here is a temporary spatial sound installation made from the song of the Common Swift developed by Michael McLoughlin while he was the UCD College of Social Science and Law Artist in Residence in 2015. The piece developed initially from a conversation in the Sutherland School of Law about the journey that people connected with the School have made to be here. The focus was on the countries from which student, academic, administrators and service staff have travelled and the migrations of birds to Ireland from these countries.
The Common Swift is one of these birds. It makes a journey from the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East to Ireland every year. And every year it bears witness to the happenings in the countries it flies above, returning to Ireland with the stories of what it has seen. When it arrives in Ireland, once a year, it rests.
In heraldic tradition the swift represents the exiled, or one without land. Yet we meet it as the communal bird, drawn together by each others’ song, returning, gathering in colonies, nesting, raising young and resting before taking flight once again.
As the piece developed during the summer of 2015 a clear focus emerged. The parallels between the story of the swifts’ journey and those of people taking flight from the Middle East and North Africa in search of refuge deepened.
This artwork has a simple premise. It’s an invitation, an extended welcome to the landless traveller and to remind us that we are part of their journey. We can offer support, hope and a safe place of rest.
Rest Here was created using recordings of swifts provided by Birdwatch Ireland. The treatments within the piece slow the speed of the birgsong in relation to our heartbeat, resulting in a tonal layer that carries the movement of the swift around the atrium.
About the artist
Michael McLoughlin was UCD College of Social Science & Law Artist in Residence in 2015, where he has since begun a critical social and institutional analysis of ethics, art-making and knowledge production in the contexts of participatory arts practice in the School of Sociology.
Since the mid-1990s Michael McLoughlin has consistently developed and presented new ways of making contemporary artwork in social contexts. In the last year he has made site specific audio work in Limerick (Cumann:An Audio Map of Limerick, Limerick City Gallery of Art), Drogheda (Cumann, Droichead Art Centre, & as part of Beyond the Pale, Highlanes) and in Dublin (Fabric, UCD Festival & Ocean Wonder Resort Revelations, Portrane). His artists book of drawings, I am here because I know you will be too was published by Dublin City Council in 2014. Michael McLoughlin has exhibited widely in Ireland and internationally. Previous work includes: It’s nice to see our friends once in a while, The LAB 2010; I only come here cos it’s free, Limerick City Gallery of Art 2008. Welcome Back, Breaking Ground, Ballymun 2006-2007; Audience (1) Waltzers with Mary Nunan, various venues 2007-2008; Bypass/Shared Designs Limerick City Gallery of Art, 2003.