From the Studios: Lynda Devenney ‘the cicada stops singing and then flies away’

11 March — 22 April 2021

Temple Bar Gallery + Studios presents Lynda Devenney's the cicada stops singing and then flies away, as the fourth edition of From the Studios, an online series of work by our studio artists.

the cicada stops singing and then flies away, 2021, is a video research work from a series that was in development before the Covid-19 lockdown. The research has altered due to the restrictions in Ireland and in response to the current pandemic environment.

Across two different hemispheres, this project attempts to walk the circumference of instances of Cordyline australis. Often known as the cabbage tree or Tī kōuka, the Cordyline australis is a native New Zealand plant that resembles, although is not related to, a palm tree. The tree was introduced to Europe in the middle of the 19th century, most likely as a domestic garden plant. According to Colin Kelleher, this ‘palm imposter went rogue’ in Ireland around the 1970s.

Speaking about the project, Lynda Devenney says “I kept registering these Cordyline australis on my walks around Dublin during restrictions, in particular the ones that had gone wild, growing outside, off the domestic gardens. They were often found in close proximity almost in a symbiotic relationship to another tree. Showing resilience and as they have a deep root system, I often wondered how they could endure this close proximity. I have been filming these Cordyline australis plants at night as research, in particular one growing in the centre of a tree.

My partner who had to return to New Zealand recently for family reasons often shares with us his unrestricted bush walks. In the background, I often see these Cordyline australis in full glory. As part of the work I asked him to attempt to film the circumference of one on his phone and the audio I have used is from these walks.

We are all impacted in many different ways during this lockdown. As we are so accustomed to living in a globalized world our environments have now suddenly contracted. As part of this research, the experiences of our current Covid environments are played out in the video research work.

In this research, using these instances of Cordyline australis has allowed me to construct meaning and examine socio-political and environmental concerns. The research has permitted me to think through personal narratives, issues of displacement, and the impact of colonialism, emigration, and more recent concerns around the current pandemic.

The first video work the cicada stops singing and then flies away will be released online from Thursday 11 March at 6pm. The second video work mostly confined to the east coast will be released on Thursday 25 March at 6pm. The final video work will be released on Thursday 8 April at 6pm.

Lynda Devenney’s practice incorporates moving image, sculptural objects, sound and performance to explore the human body as an interface between space, objects and movement. As objects or things embody a vibrancy of their own and have agency in their behaviour, they cause actions and their effects have consequences. Through these actions and consequences, she questions the relations between the object, the action and the audience. These objects are defined by the limits of the body and how shape, form and weight relate to the narrative of how an individual navigates physical and digital space. As the body’s orientation towards the world is essentially temporal, the body gives a unique interface and experience of the world. The objects are experienced though haptic touch and action and are activated through direction and choreography live and for the camera.

Lynda Devenney has recently completed her PhD in the School of Fine Art at The Glasgow School of Art. She completed a Masters in Virtual Reality from National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2005. She has taken part in numerous exhibitions, her solo exhibitions, Paradoxical Properties in Dunamaise Arts Centre in 2018 and Concrete Consciousness in Ballina Arts Centre in November 2011. Other selected group exhibitions include Play Record Rewind in Engine Room Gallery, Belfast in 2015; Transference, Monster Truck Gallery & Broadstone Studios in 2011; Force Majeure in The Lab, 2009; Reading the city Ev+a, 2009 curated by Angelika Nollert and Yilmaz Dziewior in Limerick.

From the Studios features new and existing artwork, alongside opportunities for experimentation and testing ideas as online projects. We present a glimpse into artists’ studio practice through our website and social media platforms.