Sometimes I just feel like covering my head with a blanket. I’ll tell you about that in a minute but first: tomorrow night (Friday, the 20th of September) is Culture Night in Ireland. It has been going on for a good few years now but, what does it mean?
My dictionary tells me that “Culture” is ‘the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society’. If that’s the definition, then culture is everything we do. But if it means everything, then it means nothing. Maybe we need a new word.
But deep down we all know what this word “Culture” means. It’s not everything, is it? What we’re really talking about is the creative activity of a whole host of talented, artistic people – artists, writers, musicians and such – and when we go out for ‘a bit of culture’, we’re not going out for a bag o’ chips or to do the weekly shop; we’re going out to see a play or a concert or an art exhibition etc.
Anyway, on Culture Night, all the arts and cultural organisations open their doors until late with hundreds of free events, tours, talks and performances to be enjoyed around the country. Plenty going on at the Olivier Cornet Gallery, of course.
Claire Halpin’s solo exhibition ‘RAW WAR’ opened there last thursday; Pearse McGloughlin and Nocturnes will be performing there again this year, and I’ll be enjoying the night as part of the audience.
But I remember another year, I spent the night under a blanket!
That was in the National Gallery of Ireland as part of a Tondo group exhibition, sitting on a sheet of cardboard, covered by a blanket (see above).
It was a new experience for me – a performance on the theme of homelessness. Actually, it wasn’t simply about homelessness, you could say that it was a metaphor. Something about the struggles of the artist, the struggles of life, struggles that everyone encounters from time to time. Don’t we sometimes just want to hide from the world?
Because, as me mother would’ve said: “The whole world has gone mad”.
Sometimes, we just need to retreat for a while. What do you think?