|18/10/18 - 28/10/18
partnership with the 2018 Liverpool Irish Festival, OUTPUT has
commissioned Liverpool-based artist Sorcha Boyle to respond to the
successful repeal of The 8th Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland,
which now allows the government to legislate for abortion and grants
new body autonomy to people in Ireland. Boyle will present a new film,
'Idir dhá uisce Between two waters.' This piece has two elements,
voices of women in response to the repeal of the 8th Amendment, set
against a diptych filmed at Lough Foyle on the Derry/Donegal border.
The title Idir dhá uisce translates from Irish as ‘between two
waters.’ This idea of a contested body of water can relate to the
female body as contested space, subject to the governance of different
developing the piece, I put out an open call for voices of women in
response to the repeal. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I received a modest
response, which suggests there may well be stigma about speaking of
this issue despite the anonymity of the call. The women who responded
are from the north and south of Ireland as well as Irish women living
in England. They are of different generations and perspectives. Some
speak of the past, of the governance of women’s bodies by church and
state, of back street abortions and journeys across the sea. Other
voices are optimistic and speak of the success of the repeal for
women’s advocacy and the prospect of change in the north. These
testimonies reflect how the issue of abortion currently rests in a
liminal space, between legislative and social change, between south and
north and in the relationship between these two islands.
connection between these ideas occurred when I came across the work of
Women on Waves, a Dutch based organisation offering reproductive
healthcare in countries where abortion is illegal. This is offered from
a ship docked in international waters, 12 miles out from shore.
Similarly, I learned the ‘no man’s land’ of Lough Foyle is also an
international boundary but the border line has never been agreed.
Britain claims ownership out to the twelve mile nautical limit but
twelve miles out will take you to Inishowen in County Donegal.
waters of Lough Foyle also have significance in Irish myth. Manannán
mac Lir, the sea god, is said to be buried at the Tonn banks, where the
filming took place. This liminal space can also be a point of entry to
the otherworld of mythology. In this way Idir dhá uisce uses the sea as
a site for contemplation offering multiple interpretations to the
- Sorcha Boyle