2014 was also a significant year for Susannah, who accepted a month's residency in Barcelona to develop her interest in graphic art. She produced an intriguing time-lapse photo series for the group show. I was lucky enough to visit for a week, and captured this view of her studio.
Visiting Barcelona was a fantastic experience for me, because I could see a new vibrant city through my own eyes, but also from Susannah's more embedded perspective. I haven't even begun to process the photos from this trip... other events came fast and furious. There were many incredible meals, a revelatory visit to the Mies van der Rohe pavilion, a noisy encounter with a Harley rally, the perfection of the Joan Miró gallery, random Gaudi architecture, skateboarders outside MACBA, and recordings of squeaking doors, shouting vendors, and thunderous streetscapes. Equally stunning were the incredible artefacts on display at Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, including re-situated friezes from the 11th and 12th centuries. Mind. Blown.
The life of Barcelona is famously vibrant. The first night I was on the terrace until 3am, despite a long travel day, and that just became the way of it. I don't think I will ever again take a street photograph to equal the following.
I was barely back from Spain before I set out for Portugal, on my way to the conference "Invisible Places - Sounding Cities" in the town of Viseu. Here I presented a new four-channel version of my composition "Caged Birds (Augmentation)", and was happy to be selected to present an artist's talk on the same. My third contribution was the paper "Sounding place: towards a practice of field recoding", which is the first formal statement of the research that will engage me for the next few years. Between 18 and 20 July I spent my time in Viseu, a beautiful town, where an excellent coffee is still only 80 cents.
Here I was thrilled to be in the audience for a Francisco López performance.
A stay in Porto concluded my all-too-short trip. Here's a typical shot taken outside São Bento station, on July 17. The weather was lovely!
Though the generic beer of Portugal is pretty average, there are a couple of artisan breweries offering up something tastier, if you know where to look. Luckily I had a guide from England to help me -- thanks Hali! Here I sampled Letra Pilsener, absolutely the best pils I have encountered. (Though I know a pretty good Irish pilsener as well.)
Porto is half crumbling ruin, half detailed perfection. Around every corner is a set just waiting for an imaginary film.
And sounds! It's not often that I sit for an hour just listening to a space, but I did in the science-fictional setting of the Casa da Música. Unfortunately the one night I had on my itinerary there was no concert: I was right between fado and accordion festivals. So I had to make do with the sounds in the lobby.
For budgetary reasons I have to keep my trips quite short, but fortunately this means more random encounters back home in Limerick. One of these occurred on 27 July, when Maracatu Encontro paraded to People's Park. This is a festival of Afro-Brazilian music and dance from groups based around Europe. This year they chose Limerick as their base, so... there they were.
The next day I took a photo that ended up on the front page of the newspaper, though they stripped off my credit and paid nothing. The last people you can do business with are business people.
On August 2 I marched in solidarity with Gaza, the victim of yet another invasion and assault by Israel.
Those who know me would not imagine me listening to too much hip-hop. But on August 23 I heard the best hip-hop of my life at Dolan's Summer Party, when God Knows and mynameisjOhn played with guest MuRli. These guys take no prisoners.
The same night I got my dose of shoegaze, courtesy Elastic Sleep. I love doing concert photos, and this is one of my most successful.
The end of August saw me wrapping up my year working at the Limerick City Gallery of Art. One of my last acts was to take this self-portrait, my favourite.
I'll leave it there for part two, at the tail end of the summer. What will the rest of 2014 bring? Find out in part three!