GIAF and NUI Galway release podcast documenting the making of Mirror Pavilion during the global pandemic.

1 June 2022

Galway International Arts Festival and NUI Galway release documentary podcast charting the making and staging of large scale artwork Mirror Pavilion during the global pandemic.

The episode is available on all podcast streaming platforms and is part of GIAF's First Thought series.

Listen here: Podbean | Apple | Spotify

Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work at Derrigimlagh Bog in Connemara.
Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work at Derrigimlagh Bog in Connemara. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

Galway International Arts Festival, in association with its education partner NUI Galway, has released a new podcast documenting the making and staging of John Gerrard’s Mirror Pavilion, Corn Work and Leaf Work, during the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.

The podcast, which is available to listen to on all major podcast platforms, offers an insight into how an arts organisation was affected by the global pandemic and how it responded to each of the challenges in an effort to present an artwork of scale.

It charts the delays and obstacles the team faced as the pandemic spread across the globe, including the challenge of getting the bespoke, seven metre by seven metre LED screen manufactured and transported from China in January 2020, as the Government there reported treating dozens of cases of an unknown virus emanating from Wuhan.

It also documents how the team responded to shut down after shut down and looks at the challenges associated with the largescale artwork’s ultimate construction and presentation on a Medieval quay in Galway City in 2020 and a protected blanket bog in Connemara in 2021 as part of rescheduled and reimaged Galway International Arts Festivals.

Mirror Pavilion, by Irish artist John Gerrard, is a beautiful and striking large-scale structure (7m x 7m), with three sides and the roof clad in a highly reflective mirror and the fourth wall a high–resolution LED wall, which hosts the artworks Corn Work and Leaf Work. The artwork, which is powered by sustainable energy sources, is a response to the escalating climate crisis.

Mirror Pavilion, Corn Work, wowed an audience of over 120,000 when it was presented over three weeks on Claddagh Quay in Galway City in 2020, dominating and yet merging into the coastal landscape, which was reflected in reality on the mirrored structure and virtually on the LED screen. Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work equally captivated audiences in Derrigimlagh Bog in Connemara as part of Galway International Arts Festival 2021, with the lone melancholic, oak-clad virtual character’s lament for the effects of these human advances on the non-human world and its relentless suffering. Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work also toured to Australia this month, where it is being presented as part of the 23rd Biennale of Sydney, which runs until the middle of June.

The podcast, which also charts the origination and evolution of the concept and the creation of the virtual worlds at the centre of these two unique artworks in the artist’s studio in Vienna, will also be housed in NUI Galway’s Library as part of GIAF’s Education Partnership with the third level institution, acting as a valuable resource for future arts professionals studying at NUI Galway. The archive contains a range of materials such as production photographs, programmes, oral histories, posters, press materials, administrative records, and other materials relating to the history of the Festival and of its artists, events, and memories from over four decades. This new material will add a new digital record to the archive and memory of GIAF.

The podcast was created by award-winning podcast producer Andy Gaffney, the creator and producer of the hit podcast, Promenade, which gained national and international attention when it was launched in early November.

Mirror Pavilion by John Gerrard was commissioned by Galway International Arts Festival for Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture. GIAF is grateful to Culture Ireland for its support of Mirror Pavilion in Sydney.

Galway International Arts Festival would like to acknowledge the support of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture for funding Mirror Pavilion in partnership with Galway city and county local authorities, and for the additional support provided by Festival Energy Partner Flogas, and the support of Aerogen and Blue Sky Ireland.

Listen to the podcast episode here: Podbean | Apple | Spotify

John Gerrard at the Claddagh, where Mirror Pavilion, Corn Work was displayed. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.
John Gerrard at the Claddagh, where Mirror Pavilion, Corn Work was displayed. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

John Gerrard

One of Ireland’s most unique and internationally celebrated artists, John Gerrard is best known for his large-scale and site-specific works, his sculptures which usually take the form of digital simulations, have been installed in both high-profile urban spaces such as Lincoln Center Plaza (New York) for Public Art Fund and Somerset House (London) for Channel 4, and in geographically isolated locations such as Coachella Valley Desert (California) for Desert X. His work has featured at the Venice Biennale and is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (New York).

Andy Gaffney

Andy Gaffney is the founder and creative director of The Shift Podcast Network and Studio.

After a stint learning the ropes on Hospital Radio at St. Itas 89.5, where he presented and produced an award nominated breakfast show in 2009, Andy joined Classic Hits 4fm as an assistant producer and presenter on the Niall Boylan late night talk show for three years.

In 2015, Andy became the host, producer and writer of the show Pubs of Ireland for Frame Productions and returned to the role for its second series in 2017. In 2019, Andy set up The Shift Podcast Network. As well as setting up a broadcast-suitable studio for podcasts, he invited collaborators to use the space and create podcasts he would produce. Later that year, the first of these podcasts, Be Grand and I Don’t Know Her, were released, with Storytime with YouTube sensation Clisare, science based podcast Sound in Space, the movie show The Last One to See and the critically-acclaimed Promenade in November 2021 following.

Andy was recently named as a future podcast industry leader in The Sunday Business Post.

Galway International Arts Festival | 11-24 July 2022

The Festival returns to its traditional place in the calendar, in July (11-24), with a full multidisciplinary line-up including theatre, opera, visual arts, live music, street and talks.

Explore the GIAF22 programme of events.