Following the Whitethorn
Artist(s): Michael Fortune
Location: filmed in Ballinrobe.
Title: Following the Whitethorn
Date: launched in June 2009
Dimensions: limited edition of 500 films.
Following the Whitethorn is a three-part video work which focuses on a collection of ancient and contemporary superstitions and beliefs from people living in and around the town of Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo.
Each work allows the viewer into the shared imaginary space which exists within the psyche of a community, as they recount similar superstitious activities and rituals involving everyday life.
Each of the three collections are twenty minutes in duration and feature the same people in all three works. They were recorded in a variety of settings ranging from people's homes and private nursing homes to centres for older people.
The official launch screening took place on St. John's eve and there was a huge turnout to mark this wonderful event in the town. The artist received a warm Mayo welcome when he began the project in January 2008 and many people in the town and county have became familiar with Michael and his project. Since he started the project some people he recorded have passed away, which only serves to highlight the fragility of this store of wealth.
To coincide with the recording process he presented a selection of preview screenings of the newly collected material throughout the county as part of the 2009 Bealtaine festival. He presented the work extensively throughout County Mayo in a variety of settings ranging from day care centres, secondary schools, libraries and nursing homes.