by Sara Muthi
Time and space based art work carries a quality that separates it from all other work. It can only be experienced at one time, in one space and only ever by the amount of bodies the venue can take. The documentation of the work, as in the photographs that may surface after, including the texts published and conversations surrounding the event, are all just traces of something that has passed. It is not often that you can experience live art twice, but once in a while you are privileged to be faced again with the familiar atmosphere of community based art such as ALL CHOIR.
The intention of ALL CHOIR has always been to use the commonality of music as a starting point for social engagement and discussion. While ALL CHOIR’s performance at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios back in April was successful in its goal, part two takes it further. Abandoning the comfortable and familiar setting of the gallery space, ALL CHOIR takes itself to Liberty Park, located in north Dublin’s inner city as part of the Treeline Project, created by Oonagh Young and Mary Cremin. This facilitated the perfect collaboration between a work such as ALL CHOIR whose objective is to break down barriers between the everyday and the art world, and the object of the Treeline Project, which strives for social engagement after the community was divided due to reconstruction in the area. The aim to use art to activate the social engagement of a community was beautifully complimented by each others artistic and local intentions.
As stated in the first response to ALL CHOIR, a large portion of art falls within one of two categories, art that creates dialogue with other art, and art that is in conversation with life. ALL CHOIR is a work which embeds itself into life effortlessly, and its change of scenery from the gallery to the inner city has made this ring ever more true.
Lifelike art often reimagines the media of art, but more often than not avoids specific categorization entirely, making it difficult to speak of the work as simply performance. Unlike conceptual art in which the work is carried by the concept, a broad term used to encompass much of contemporary art and performance, ALL CHOIR is carried by the community. The community is the concept, it is the point of the work. The scheduled rehearsals were just as important for the work, and part of the work as the final event was.
The instinctual and raw nature of the vocals used by Buckeridge along with the unpolished, unprofessional voices of the singing audience concocted an aura of oneness and comfort for all involved. The simple nature of a choir in a gallery became a choir in a park, surrounded by pedestrians and locals increasingly blurred the lines between art and life. We all experience life in different degrees, in different context, at different ages, however any degree of life experience would enable you to understand and relate to the lyrics of Buckeridge. Encompassing all walks of life, the lyrics are inspired by life and simply translated to us by a keyboard, our voices and each other.
While live art can never be presented in the same way twice, that was not the aim of the second Dublin based ALL CHOIR event. It was simply to continue its mission, continue its vision in creating a wider community of engagement, with each other as human beings but also as creatives, individuals with their own struggles and questions, coming together in vocal harmony around life inspired lyrics.
The ALL CHOIR, created by Mark Buckeridge, was presented as part of the Treeline Project, an arts initiative by Oonagh Young and Mary Cremin, on 5 August 2017. Images are extracts from lyrics by Mark Buckeridge.