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Uninhabited: Reflecting an Empty Stage

Writer: Eoghan Carrick

Conceived in a time when theatres were closed, Uninhabited: Reflecting an Empty Stage is a personal response to a crisis of art-form. Part poetry, photo essay, prose and performance text, it begins as exploration of absence and culminates in a performance for an uninhabited theatre.


Uninhabited begins with an exploration Hans Holbein the Younger’s 1524 Alphabet with Dance of Death. Holbein's inhabited initials were his first exploration of the Danse Macabre, or Dance of Death, a style of art that proliferated during one of the worst outbreaks of the bubonic plague. His alphabet is a subversive critique of the political, economic and social conditions he witnessed.


Part I, [un]inhabited initials [after Holbein] draws on satellite images of ghost estates located in Ireland. The images use the skeletal remains of buildings and their relationship to the surrounding landscape to create an alphabet of absence. The work explores home, sickness and the reciprocal relationship between landscape and language.


Part II, A History of Multiplying, is a prose-poem about process. It reflects on the writer’s earliest experiences with multiplication and on the societal effects the bubonic plague, drawing together misremembered histories with narratives of division and multiplication to create multiplicity of connections.


Part III, The Bones Of It, is a culmination and a return. Through Holbein’s Alphabet with Dance of Death, the piece explores isolation, story and connection as a process of making and remaking, of peeling away and collaging viewpoints, experiences and times. It brings the body to the fore and culminates in a performance text for an absent audience.


A History of Multiplying, was published in the Belfield Literary Review in 2022 and sections of The Bones Of It were published in Minor Literature[s] and The Stony Thursday Book. Its development and creation was facilitated through the 2020 IMMA Summer School and the support of the 2021 Pan Pan International Mentorship Programme under the mentorship of Terry O'Connor, an Arts Council Bursary Award, and finally the 2022 Irish Writers Centre National Mentoring Programme under the mentorship of Christodoulos Makris supported by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries.

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