rest here

2017, 4 channel spatial sound installation

Rest He

Rest here is a spatial sound installation made from the song of the Common Swift.  This artwork was developed initially from a conversation in the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin 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. 

Rest Here was created using recordings of swifts used to encourage nesting and were 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.

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.  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 traveler and to remind us that we are part of their journey.  We can offer support, hope and a safe place of rest.