ROUND TOWER COSMIC

TEACUP NETWORK

BALLYCASTLE/KILLALA, IRELAND

While working in Ballycastle, County Mayo, Ireland in 2011 there was a lovely cafe down the street from my studio. I stopped in for lunch one day and a group of about five people had been seated just after I sat down – they all ordered tea. A few minutes later there was a chorus of teacup stirring –  interweaving rhythms not unlike a minimalist music composition.

I began recording teacup stirring patterns – my own and others – hoping I might find a way to recreate what I had experienced in the cafe.

Meanwhile, my research had taken me to visit round tower sites, the closest one being in Killala, County Mayo. These ancient towers are mysterious in that no one really seems to know their purpose. Dr. Philip Callahan, an entomologist studying infrared wavelength communication of insects, had studied these round towers extensively and speculated on how they share the shape of insect antennae and seem positioned in relationship to constellations in the Ireland night sky. In my head, somehow this got connected to the tea-stirring – another sort of inadvertent communication. The layered painted diagram indicates the round tower locations superimposed with the constellations. An added diagrammatic layer is borrowed from Moholy-Nagy's summary schematic of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. I designed one additional diagram hoping to relate the teacups, and their sound, to the other idea/elements.