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Historical Documents of the Irish Avant-Garde

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posted on 18.12.2020, 11:09 by Jennifer Walshe
Historical Documents of the Irish Avant-Garde, January 2015

The purpose of the research was to open up an imaginative space where an Irish Avant-garde could have happened and to conduct an exercise in ‘what if?’ The work offers a fictional survey of avant-garde composition in Ireland from the late 19th to early 21st centuries.

Dr Walshe conducted research into the structures and establishments of Irish artistic history to investigate how histories of music are created, but found that there was no real data. She subsequently began bending history and explored a potential tradition of experimentalism in Ireland. Following this methodology, the research project opened up into a history of the imaginary which operates in parallel to the Irish cultural mainstream.

Dr Walshe's research showed that linear narratives in music are often fictional anyway due to the editing they tend to undergo. She unearthed parallels to Irish culture as a whole, which tends to expel its artists first before welcoming them back into their realm once they’re dead. The creation of an imaginative space in this work showed that an Irish avant-garde with revolutionaries, female, queer and other artists, who may have existed and subsequently been written out of history, could have happened.


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