Creator: Shanna May Breen
Reviewer: Ciara L. Murphy
The Sound of Phoenix is inviting its audience to listen, really listen, to a place. To hold in our bodies what it means to hear where you are. This Live Art mobile installation takes its audience on an audio-visual tour of Dublin’s Phoenix Park. This park has been the backbone to hundreds of years of the city’s history and it is these histories, big and small, that creator Shanna May Breen evokes on this short 55 minute bus tour.
The setting, a vintage bus, evokes its own sense of history. However, it is really the soundscape that is the main creative force of this piece. The bus drives through the Phoenix Park as the curated soundscape is played inside. The sound design roots us in place and draws the multitudes of the park’s patrons, deer, and monuments into our narrative.
The bus enters and exits the park several times, in several different places, as we the audience enter and exit several iterations of the park’s history. The piece grounds us in the histories that we never get to hear, of a young mother in the 1980s sneaking her children into the zoo to a man who is a bee-keeping enthusiast. It also notes the park’s more established histories taking us from the construction of the Wellington monument to the significance of the Papal cross. A seamless weaving of social history and personal experience.
The Sound of Phoenix is exactly the right length, allowing its audience to immerse themselves in the experience without becoming lost within it. A hidden gem in this year’s Fringe.
Runs until 17 September 2018 | Image: Contributed