Online project

Dance of Description

A collaborative call and response

Jane Butler, Justine Cooper, Janie Doherty, Thomas Wells

Ends 30 June 2020

The artists in Dance of Description were invited by Janie Doherty to capture moments of intimacy, sensorial pleasures and things that created a softening of the nervous system. When they came together, threads of consciousness had cosmically intertwined as the quartet seemed to share experiences, feelings, and tasty things. Playing against the sterile environment of the digital realm, the artists focused on the elemental changes experienced in Ireland during the summer. The inclination to regain a sense of the senses circulated in many of the responses incorporating sounds, movement, touch and sight. 

Jane Butler

The unease of the day settles into the scarlet bones,

The heart rate pulsating,

Skip! Beat! Skip!

Feeling every single pound (thump?)

The skin twitches in an attempt to rest,

The breath slows, refusing to chase the heart,

The mind wanders, falling into the abstract,

But the heart never settles.

Janie Doherty 

Working out ways to cultivate a strong mind. 

I wonder how much is genetic and how much is just luck? 

When I found out my mother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, it made me feel really shaky and I was convinced I would ‘get it’. I was almost sure I would get it. 

I think I’ve tried to hold it together a lot and look like a strong person and I think I am good at that. I am good at holding space. I think it’s a muscle and you have to work hard at it. You get good at what you practice. 

Sometimes it's nice to steer into the skid, as it were, to lean into your vulnerabilities and witness the rich colour palette. 

I am interested in self-soothing behaviours, and the things we need to do to keep going, to hold it together. What are helpful inner mantras? When your adrenal glands are firing like hot beasts, and you're trying to keep the darkness at bay during these times of isolation, what do we grasp for comfort? It was enjoyable to share my ongoing practice with other artists and see how they have responded.

Justine Cooper

Such a joy to explore, observe, notice, dream into and search for where support and nourishment actually live inside the turn of the sun and the rise of the moon.

A retracing back as if through the lens of a bird to catch the reflection of the seeing, being, hearing, smelling, touching of the deeper well. An invitation for the timeless self to be in charge of the flow and arc of the momentum and the pause.

Thomas Wells

In bed whilst it's raining,

hitting the window, slowly soft to begin, stop, again quicker, stop, more frequent, stronger, faster, continuous

thunder, snap, impending flash

snap, dullness breaks, bass shakes


This project is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Artist Emergency Fund