Mean Time - RTE Lyric FM
Up until the 1st of October 1916 Ireland was on Dublin Mean Time which was 25 minutes and 21 seconds behind Greenwich Mean Time. On the day when England put its clock back by an hour for winter, Ireland put its clock back by 35 minutes and ended the historic time difference between the two countries. Mean Time was a collaborative art project inspired by this event and particularly by Countess Markievicz's opposition to what she saw as one more piece of colonial oppression; the imposition of a foreign time on what should have been a sovereign people.
The project brought ten professional female sound artists from Ireland and abroad to the historical location of Richmond Barracks in Dublin city, where 77 women were remanded after their involvement in the 1916 Rising. They performed a unique improvisation based on especially commissioned pieces on the theme of these lost 25 minutes for the anniversary of the abolition of Dublin Mean Time. The event combined contemporary music, performance art, radio art and electroacoustic composition, 'clawing back' time lost and imagining many possible future Irelands. Mean Time was broadcast live on RTE Lyric FM’s Nova on 2nd October 2016. The project was made with the support of an Arts Council Music Project Award, Dublin City Council and Richmond Barracks.
The participating artists were Daria Baiocchi, Fiona Hallinan, La Cosa Preziosa, Vicky Langan, Úna Lee, Olivia Louvel, Jenn Kirby, Claudia Molitor, Gráinne Mulvey and Rachel Ní Chuinn.
The improvised group performance is available to watch here.
Three Minutes to Midnight - Vicky Langan
In making her public stand against the abolition of Dublin Mean Time, Countess Markievicz politicized the control of time and imbued it with a utopian dimension: our own time for our own nation. A symbolical framework of empowerment for our future. In the USSR, post-revolutionary time was redefined with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, creating a new time for a new nation, one rooted in ideals of increased productivity. In searching today's world for similar inscriptions of nation's dreams of the future in reimagined time, I found instead a nightmare warning for all humanity. Not a utopian structure for a newly minted future but a dystopian countdown to the possible end of time.
Founded in 1947 by scientists who helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet from nuclear weapons, climate change, and new technologies emerging in other domains.
Three Minutes to Midnight uses crude field recordings to share a kitchen-table narrative of everyday life, a domestic lull in the face of pressures from internal and external worlds.