rest here

2017/2023, 4 channel spatial sound installation

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 in 2016 and revisited in Ennistymon, Co Clare in 2023. It was revisited using recordings of swifts collected in the Summers of 2022 and 2023 in Co Clare, Ireland. The Common Swift makes a journey from the Mediterranean, North Africa, West 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 along side field recording rathered in Killaloe, Co Clare. The treatments within the piece slow the speed of the birdsong 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 persecution, poverty, or war 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.