Like Judith Dekker’s lark, this is a videopoem made from a passage of poetic prose: in this case, the unpublished novel The Affection of a Hag by Irish writer Emer Martin. Daragh McCarthy is the producer, editor, composer and reader, with filming by Richard Donnelly (see Vimeo for the complete credits). McCarthy writes,
I came across the work of Emer Martin in a copy of Stinging Fly magazine that a friend left in my flat on a winter evening in 2011.
Leafing through the contents I was struck by the title “going underground” in the novel extracts section, as I had made a film about the Dublin punk rock scene “The Stars Are Underground”.
Reading the character’s monologue in my kitchen I realised I was speaking it out loud, caught up in the rhythm. The words felt like an anger cheat sheet and history lesson and I immediately knew I wanted to put it to music.
The words seemed to encapsulate what myself and many of my contemporaries have been trying to express in terms of our place within history at this time and how we might begin to create a route forward.
While initially they suggested a full throttle approach, in the end a considered and deliberate reading was more appropriate.
I had been planning to combine my love of both film and music and felt that this piece was where I should start.
I wanted the visuals to be abstract for the most part, suggestive of the natural world and an internal world in equal measure.
I wanted the music to be a combination of midi, analogue and the human voice. I have been exploring Shape Note singing for some time and felt it’s raw human power would suit the sense of a people’s emotional response to their situation perfectly.