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Carnival of Shadows: Possible Human

Dumbworld re-animate Kilkenny's Skatepark with immersive multi-media installation.

Kilkenny’s new Abbey Quarter Skatepark provided the canvas and inspiration for this new site-specific work, Carnival of Shadows: Possible Human. Premiered at Kilkenny Arts Festival 2021.

Working from archives, interviews, and speculative investigations centered on the physical and emotional landscape of the area, and responding to the unique design and aural sweep of the skatepark, writer-director John McIlduff and composer Brian Irvine have crafted an atmospheric blend of music and film projection that explores the ways in which history is made, lost and rediscovered.

The artistic vision and approach adopted by McIlduff and Irvine fuse music, film, and projection, a vision that is rooted and reflected in the history of the site itself. The creative team spent the last year unearthing secrets held within the site, focusing on a significant archaeological dig that took place in the 1970s, during which a series of important historical discoveries were made, including a vertebrae bone fragment. The origins of the bone are not confirmed as human or animal – it’s possibly human. This unknown fragment has born the embryonic creative journey that was realised in Carnival of Shadows: Possible Human.

Throughout the creative process, Dumbworld worked closely with the local community in Kilkenny to ensure the work created is embedded in its people, their stories, and their history. From the skaters who use the skatepark, a local curator, a town activist, and Etaoin Holahan who worked with a range of local people and organisations to collect stories which in turn, inspired every aspect of the development of the work. The company also worked with Kilkenny-based, five-time Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Emmy-nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon to create a series of life drawings that have been woven into the final projection.