An [Interrupted] Bestiary
Fractal Coral Ghost: a collaboration with Pink House, Bohol Island, Philippines.
The wall piece Coral Fractal Ghost was co-created by Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca, with Abhay Ghiara + Pink House.
One of the performers in Broken Aquarium during its early development and a long-time collaborator of Every house has a door is Abhay Ghiara. Abhay developed performance material as The Red Pencil fish but for various reasons could not perform in Chicago in September 2022.
Together with his wife Jane, Abhay is building Pink House: a complex consisting of a community home, store, koi meditation pond & yogic meditation center on Bohol Island in the Philippines.
In June 2022, there was a typhoon on the island that removed parts of the roof of Pink House and left the space without water and electricity. The Philippines is ranked among the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change and is hit by an average of 20 storms a year.
Together with their community, Abhay and Jane say that they have been “recreating space in Pink House one little section at a time”. During this time, Laura wrote to Abhay and Jane to invite them to participate in this exhibition. We sent them a package of prints of a drawing titled Fractal Coral Ghost and invited them to install it in Pink House. The mounted image you see here is the result of that invitation.
On August 23, 2022, Laura wrote:
I am so happy to hear that the prints arrived with you.
I am thinking of them as a kind of fragile thread that can connect the performance of Broken Aquarium to the broken Pink House. Two acts of repair happening in different yet overlapping worlds.
The image on the fractal print is a collage made from a drawing by my son Eoin and a coral frame by me.
Eoin made the drawing in the autumn of 2020 not long after we moved from England to the Netherlands.
The teacher had asked the children to draw their families.
Eoin drew himself holding hands with my father, his grandfather, Roger Cull who had died in February 2020.
Dad appears in Eoin’s drawing as a ghost.
Eoin appears in his drawing with a broken arm in a sling following a fall shortly before the drawing was made.
In Broken Aquarium, a young boy called Isaac Cresswell appears as Polyp: the microscopic creatures who build the coral reef. He stands in for a colony to come; a colony that will have danced a fractal choreography in some future version of the performance.
During rehearsal, Matthew brought in a scientific article that none of us could really understand about how coral can exhibit the fundamental features of fractality: scale invariance and self-similarity. “Scale invariance means that an object looks the same on all scales”. Self-similarity means that “any part of the system, appropriately enlarged, looks like the whole” (Purkis et al 2006: 1753).
Coral reefs are built by polyps. Most structures we call “coral” are, in fact, made up of colonies of thousands of polyps. Each tiny, soft-bodied polyp secretes a hard outer skeleton of limestone that attaches either to rock or to the dead skeletons of other polyps.
Holding hands with the dead.
I wish I was there with you to help re-build Pink House.
Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca is the Lector of the Academy of Theatre and Dance.
The artist’s book was designed in collaboration with Shelf Shelf in Chicago.
The film Done Dying was co-created by Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca, Abi Weaver, Nicola Srubati, Daniele Rugo, Steve Tromans, and Eoin Ó Maoilearca in collaboration with Every house has a door and Essi Kausalainen.
An [Interrupted] Bestiary was made possible with the support of the UKRI-funded project, Performance Philosophy and Animals: Towards a Radical Equality (2019-22) and is a satellite event of the new project, Climate Imaginaries at Sea. Climate Imaginaries at Sea is part of the Art Route NWA-project ‘Bit by bit, or not at all’ within the scheme ‘Small Projects’ which is financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).
The Amsterdam exhibition at VoxPop gallery was co-designed by Andy Dockett and Tommaso Campagna with support from Marilixe Beernink.
Above – Image from the artist’s book
Below – Fractal Coral Ghost
Below – Images taken during the performative reading and exhibition of “An [Interrupted] Bestiary”
Photo Credits: Thomas Lenden