They Call Us The Screamers 3 November – 19 November 2017
TULCA Festival of Visual Art, Galway, Ireland
The 15th edition of TULCA Festival of Visual Art – titled They Call Us The Screamers – features artworks by Irish and international artists that are presented across six venues: Galway Arts Centre, 126 Artist Run Gallery, Nun’s Island Theatre, Connacht Tribune Print Works, Barnacles Hostel, and University Hospital Galway. The participating artists are: Fabienne Audeoud, Sam Basu and Liz Murray, Kian Benson Bailes, David Beattie, Oisin Byrne, Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh, Vicky Langan and Maximilian Le Cain, Liz Magic Laser, McGibbon O’Lynn, Yvette Monahan, Yoko Ono, Plastique Fantastique, Richard Proffitt, Bob Quinn, Florian Roithmayr (with Meredith Monk), Kaspar Oppen Samuelsen and Marie-Louise Vittrup Andersen, Lucy Stein
The exhibition takes its reference from a book written by Jenny James, published by Caliban Books in 1980. The book is an account of Atlantis, the commune she established a few years earlier in the Gaeltacht village of Burtonport, County Donegal – promoting an approach of de-programming from the modern world through therapeutic self-development and environmental self-sufficiency. The book is also a response to the controversies and scandals that embroiled the commune during their first years in Ireland, following accusations of cultish behaviour, kidnapping, and physical abuse. The members of the commune were collectively nicknamed ‘The Screamers’ in a 1976 Sunday World article, referring to their practice of primal scream therapy – an adapted form of psychotherapy developed by Dr Arthur Janov that sought to re-enact the traumas of modern upbringing and thereby reverse the neurosis that follows in later life.
They Call Us The Screamers provides the title and thematic compass for the exhibition, with artworks that are orientated to ideas held together by the historical episode. They include ideas of withdrawal and selfhood (Lucy Stein, Liz Magic Laser, Vicky Langan & Maximilian Le Cain, Richard Proffitt); autonomy and self-sufficiency (Kaspar Oppen Samuelsen & Marie-Louise Vittrup Andersen, David Beattie, Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh, Yvette Monahan); voice and neurosis (Florian Roithmayr, Yoko Ono, Fabienne Audeoud); future culture and community (Kian Benson Bailes, Plastique Fantastique, Sam Basu & Liz Murray, McGibbon O’Lynn, Oisin Byrne). The exhibition also features Bob Quinn’s The Family (1979) – a documentary film on Atlantis that was originally banned by the national broadcast network RTE Television, deemed too disturbing for Irish audiences at the time.
A publication designed by Alex Synge / The First 47 wll be available at all venues. In addition to curatorial texts by Matt Packer, the publication includes three newly commissioned texts by Sue Rainsford that sound the primal scream through the narrative forms of lyric essay, transcription, and testimony.
They Call Us The Screamers is an exhibition that does not aim to illustrate Atlantis in Ireland, nor attempt to redress their controversy. Instead, the story gives way to a broader framework of practice-related ideas that develop from the countercultural psychology of the 1970s, seeking to reclaim an alternative future for self and society in today’s perspective.
Curated by: Matt Packer