24 May 2016



On isolation and company

Anne-Maree Barry specialises in site specific video work, that falls somewhere between fiction and documentary. The documentary methodology comes from an interest in the places Anne-Maree visits and the surrounding environments. On her travels, Anne-Maree wants to find out information that she is not privy to, by talking to as many people as possible.

Anne-Maree has been travelling a lot in the past two years, meeting architects, researchers, and urban planners. These encounters are necessary for her practice. Film is a very collaborative medium, so one needs to have good relationships with others. There is one aspect of her work, however, which does not require the company of others. Recently, Anne-Maree has begun to write more of her own scripts.

Suomenlinna island is, however, a rather solitary environment. During her HIAP residency, Anne-Maree has tried to reconcile two different ways of approaching the environment; on one hand, there is the solitude and seclusion of the island, on the other, there are the seminars, events, and happenings on the main land, which she has been attending. “With isolation eventually comes a realisation of what you are doing and where you are going with your work,” Anne-Maree says. Yet isolation is not something she aspires to.

Her current film tells the story of a utopian island, not unlike Suomenlinna. Anne-Maree is looking to create a narrative that represents her time in Suomenlinna, while researching factual issues relevant to the area. She has also been looking at tourists trying to navigate the island, distancing herself from them, yet not quite feeling local either.

Anne-Maree is delightfully open about her popular culture references. The histories and stories of Suomenlinna reminded her of the Game of Thrones series, while the landscape of the island made her think of the film Breaking the Waves. “The aesthetic of that film will definitely feed into my own documentary,” she tells me. Another film she has been watching while on the island is Don’t Look Now, which is set in Venice; the sound of the film’s main character’s heels against the cobblestones repeats itself while Anne-Maree walks around Suomenlinna. The sound of the cobblestones is there, too. The past meets the presents, and the film reality meets the reality of the artist in Suomenlinna.

Living on the island has very much inspired the film work that Anne-Maree has produced. She is intuitive to the environment in that sense.

The seclusion of the island is balanced out by the almost excessive amount of events and happenings Anne-Maree has attended on the main land – a seminar Consensus/Dissensus Art and Politics organised by The Finnish Society for Aesthetics, AAVE Festival, In-Between: Art, Education and Politics in the Post-Welfare State conference and the Chimurenga Library & Pan African Space Station at Kallio Library curated by Ahmed Al-Nawas for Checkpoint Helsinki, to name a few. They have introduced her not only to a great number of interesting people, but also the Finnish way of thinking.

Anne Maree Barry’s residency is realised in collaboration with Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin, and supported by The Arts Council of Ireland.

Read more: http://annemareebarry.com

Photography courtesy of the artist from the series Hopealinna. © Anne Maree Barry 2016