Saturday night, me and The Beloved, and Pat the Salt her aged father, were in The Arts Block to see what they could do towards making sense of it all. We spent a couple of hours, including a most welcome tea and cakes, at Liminal States in St Patrick's Gateway Centre a re-purposed Protestant church in Waterford. Liminal States has been a massive multi-media multi-cultural project headed up by visual and performance artist Alanna O'Kelly. It was funded by Wexford CoCo and Waterford CoCo through their Arts Office[r]s and the Bealtaine Festival of Age and Opportunity. Liminal States are at the edge - ultimately from the Latin limes = frontier. Frontier?? that's where we-the-scientists are! But of course it's a different frontier with different Ways of Seeing. There's a use of language in any field that makes more sense to those in the tent looking out, than the folks outside the tent looking in. Look at me: Blobbin' away about science and culture; thinking it's both clear and useful but often desperately in need of a ruthless copy editor.
What we heard in St Patrick's was a hub-bub of exotic sound: somewhere high up, a recorded sound-track but on the ground a buzz of comms in a dozen different languages. What we saw was the floor being gradually covered with mandalas of overlapping stencilled patterns picked out in primary poster paints. I can imagine that the building custodian was thinking Jakers, I hope they clean up after themselves. I was thinking this paint is going to be tracked through a lot of homes in Waterford tonight. But that's not the point. The event was the culmination of a Process, involving women at a Direct Provision Centre down the way from Waterford City. I've written about Direct Provision before - DP centres are hostels for
to be human and alive. Wade says it for Tibet - Liminal States says it for Sierra Leone, Somalia, Guatemala, Kurdistan. All those colourful, exotic, tasty, ways of being. Not better than bacon-and-cabbage but different, definitely different.