OWEN BOSS, JUSTINE COOPER, ÚNA KAVANAGH, LOUISE LOWE, NIAMH MCCANN AND LYNNETTE MORAN
The world has changed twice over, firstly because Emma O’Kane was here and secondly because she has gone.
In response to the launch of Emma’s bursary and in the anticipation of future applicants and recipients, we brought together six of Emma’s friends and colleagues to attempt the impossible task of somehow contextualising the artist and the person behind the incredible energy and light that epitomises Emma’s life and influence. Each of us had our own individual friendship and distinct working relationship with Emma over many years but one recent and very special project unites us - Falling Out of Standing. A filmic response to *These Room a co-production between ANU Productions and CoisCeim Dance Theatre where Emma was a key conduit between companies and art form. We’ve taken this single piece of work in an attempt to streamline our response and in the hope of providing a more expansive insight into Emma’s influence through the very personal lens of her close collaborators.
Just like the four women in the film (of which Emma was one) we gather once more around a table, brought together by grief and sorrow, to somehow find a language and a shared communication that helps us understand and hopefully gives insight to those who wish to find out more about the events that led to where we are now.
Emma was an extremely passionate person, a healer, a listener and kind human being. She imparted knowledge and wisdom with generosity and care. One such imparting gift was Emma’s keen interest in the **Vagus Nerve or as Emma coined it ‘The Viva Las Vagus Nerve’. In the simplest terms the vagus nerve connects the head, heart and gut, and when stimulated ‘lights up like Vegas’ to send all sorts of powerful messages back to the brain. We used the route of the vagus nerve through the body as a roadmap for our conversation, sometimes getting lost along the way in memories and emotions, while attempting to keep Emma’s voice at the fore.
We hope this conversation along with some of the references and topics discussed will lead applicants on a trail of curiosity to fearlessly embrace their potential and build their creative confidence with Emma’s own message ‘You are a Powerful Being’.
*These Rooms, a co-production between ANU Productions and CoisCéim Dance Theatre. It began as an Open Call National Project in ART: 2016: The Arts Council’s programme. An Irish Times Irish Theatre award winning 2016 production, it premiered in Dublin before being reimagined for a London run, co-commissioned by 14-18NOW: the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, LIFT and Shoreditch Town Hall, supported by Culture Ireland as part of GB18.
**The tenth cranial nerve or CN X that interfaces with the parasympathetic control of the heart, lungs, and digestive tract; consisting of motor fibers that innervate the muscles of the pharynx, larynx, heart, and thoracic and abdominal viscera, and of sensory fibers that conduct impulses from these structures to the brain.
Special thanks to David Bolger, Bridget Webster, Leanna Cuttle, Paddy Jordan and Matt Smyth.
Please see BIOGRAPHIES for more information about the artists involved.