Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ella Burke: The Parade

The warehouse we've been training ad-hoc in the last few months is becoming a creative hub with artist Ella Burke building her structures and assembling her parade, us girls doing our slow training off the roof and some boys carving festival furniture in the back.

Yesterday, Ella invited us aerialist girls to heft around some of her human plaster casts in a sing-song parade round Dublin's Blackpitts. Part of the pre-display and renegade exhibiting of her newest work, a team of friends gathered to take part in the protest non-protest or parading of the sculptures from Blackpitts to St. Patrick's Cathedral and back. The sculptures were heavy enough, but between two people were manageable. We tired to identify which cast belonged to what person, and I admired the results considering the difficulties experienced during the casting procedure which had been recounted to me. Apparently, it's not uncommon for people to faint while getting body cast, and as far as I know all of the models on this occasion did so, a few times.

So off we went, in great merriment and form, not really knowing what to expect from the venture. It was nice to see people's reactions in the street and to glance at our reflections passing over windows in buildings and cars, a parade of James Larkin mimics in the female form, taking to the streets, hands aloft. A number of good voices among the revelers carried us along in tune. Passing by the aforementioned 'Bohemia' shop, the lady clerk came out the door to ask us, "Is it a guillotine for all them foreigners?" (On the way back she posed us the same question en francais).

I felt quite empowered in this our sudden parade and could easily have been encouraged to stop traffic in a moment of radical mischief and spectacle and high spiritedness.

Onwards to St. Patrick's Cathedral where we stopped for a photo or two round a waterless feature before the sky opened with some water of its own and the wind came with it. We lost one lady at the back when the structure gave way, but help was at hand and she arrived back just a little shorter than before minus her stilts. The wind and rain felt quite good, a bit of bluster added to the parade's sense of sudden spectacle and improvised carnival. Once we got back I was sad to not partake in cigarettes and coffee since I'm avoiding such luxuries, but I did have some of Ella's also finely sculpted box'o'flap jacks. Good job!

Ella's ladies final stop will be the Royal Hibernian Academy for the Annual exhibition opening on the 21st May.

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