Tempestries (2022 – 24)

Justine Cooper  & Siobhán Ní Dhuinnín with masks by Veronica Santorum. phot. Marcin Lewandowski | soundofphotography.com ©

Tempestries is focussed on the ways movement and textiles shape a sense of place within an Irish context. Its spliced science and speculative history are anchored in the  story of  a 7th Century bog skeleton and her textiles found on Cloonshannagh Bog in Co. Roscommon in 2005. This choreographic research asks how dance might entwine with smart textiles (textiles with integrated technologies) to ask provocative dancing questions in our time of climate emergency. With the Irish peatland bog as theme and metaphor, Tempestries evokes the story of a woman lost in the bog in the 7th century, and discovered in 2005 during mechanical peat digging. She is found with her clothes preserved, and Tempestries uses this science to embody glimpses into her life and what her story tells us about femininity, ecology, power and the warming of the world. Tempestries is a play on the words tempest, tapestry and temperature – threads woven together to make connections between the female labour of textile making, the moving female body and our relationship to landscape. 

This is also the mosses story: In their slow and patient way, the mosses wait their time and come to make the bog itself – slow, dark as hunger, thick with memory. Tempestries makes dancing connections between the moss that makes peat bogs and the historic / current mining of peatland for fuel and female identity; somatic sensing, gestural layering, environmental improvisation and play with materials.  

Funded by an Arts Council Dance Bursary, Science Foundation Ireland (Insight) and Future Humanities Institute at UCC, Jools Gilson completed second stage research and development for Tempestries in 2022/24. This R&D comprised two integrated strands of work – a slower collaboration with the ecologist / textile artist Veronica Santorum and the sound / media artist Benjamin Burns followed by a three week intensive with dance artists Justine Cooper and Siobhán Ní Dhuinnín both of whom bring exceptional experience of ecology and dance. This second stage included residencies in the Theatre Department at UCC and at Dance Cork Firkin Crane (Ceist). As part of this project Jools is collaborating with the Wireless Sensor Networks Research Group at the Tyndall Institute (directed by Brendan O’Flynn) to develop lively clothing haunted by history and the climate crisis.