Memory Theatre by Helen Kirwan with Tom Lane

6 Jan 2018

Event times


Cost of entry

Tickets: www.space.org.uk/event/memory-theatre

The Space

England, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • You can get the D7 from Mile End or Poplar, the 277 from Bethnal Green from Mile End and the 135 from Old Street. Our bus stop is called Crews Street/The Space Theatre.
  • From Canary Wharf tube station Turn right out of the station on to Reuters Plaza. Go past the clocks and turn right at the top of the stairs. You’ll see bus stop J. Buses go in two directions from this stop so you’ll need to check the destination as well as the number. To get to the Space you’ll need the 277 or 135 to Crossharbour (not Highbury or Old Street) or the D7 to Poplar (not Mile End). Our bus stop is called Crews St/The Space Theatre. Buses are frequent but we recommend allowing 20 minutes for wait and journey time combined.
  • From Mudchute DLR station If arriving from Bank direction, turn right when getting off the train and walk up the stairs. Follow the brick wall round and turn right down the stairs. Bear right down Spindrift Avenue and keep walking to the end of this road. Turn right on to Westferry Road and the Space is a few minutes up the road opposite Rose Food and Wine store. It will take you approximately 10 – 15 minutes to walk from Mudchute station.

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Memory Theatre: an installation-performance-experiment by Helen Kirwan with Tom Lane at The Space arts centre, London, 6 January 2018.


The artist Helen Kirwan is pleased to announce a new manifestation of Memory Theatre as a live performance-experiment at The Space arts centre in London on Saturday 6 January 2018.
It is the first time that the artist proposes to present Memory Theatre in this expanded form. She has re-visited this two channel video and pulled out seven fragments for installation as  multiple video projection in The Space, a former Presbyterian Church in the Isle of Dogs, East London. These will be shown together with a live performance by the artist and simultaneous sound, also to be performed live, by the award-winning Dublin based composer, Tom Lane with whom Kirwan has a long standing collaboration. This is the first time that the two artists will work together in performance.
By sharing this installation-performance-experiment with the audience at The Space, Kirwan opens up the experience of the space itself to multiple interpretations, which are at once collective and singular. 
Kirwan’s performances are based on seemingly endless repetitions of absurd and futile activities which express what the artist has described as ‘the physical traces of mourning.’ In the fog of bereavement, physical contact with objects and external surroundings serves as a form of mapping or orienteering.  Her performative work explores the haptic and tensions between the body and sites. She explores the idea of the trace as a mark that has barely been made or that may disappear, and asks was something there, and was something left behind?

Memory Theatre, initially created as a 44-minute video incorporates  a series of performances carried out by the artist and  filmed in Merzouga, Morocco, Dungeness and Joss Bay, Kent and the Burren and Connemara, Ireland. The decision to expand Memory Theatre both physically and conceptually beyond its initial format, marks the artist’s long standing exploration of diverse media to convey memory, repetition and archive and stimulate multiple readings. The recorded and repeatable nature of the videos stand in contrast to the singularity of a live performance. 

Memory Theatre is underpinned by Kirwan’s inquiry into the concept of the ‘philosophical fragment’. The German Romantic philosopher Frederich Schlegel posited a radical definition of this fragment as a dynamic process which aims at fragmentation for its own sake. Intrinsic to Kirwan’s futile reiterations and journeys is the essential incompletion which is itself the mode of fulfilment.

Memory Theatre was first unveiled as a two channel video installation at the group exhibition ‘Personal Structures - Crossing Borders’ at the European Cultural Centre at the 57th Biennale di Venezia. It was later screened at the Sussex Open (2017) at the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, and the Folkestone Triennial Fringe (2017). Kirwan also undertook a series of live performances of Memory Theatre on the beach during the Folkestone Triennial Fringe (2017).

For images and press enquires please contact: info@helenkirwan.com

About Helen Kirwan
Helen Kirwan is a British - Irish conceptual artist. Born in Ireland where she lived for many years, she now divides her time between the UK and Brussels. She practised law as a barrister in Dublin and London for nearly twenty years before becoming an artist full time. She took a B.A. (First Class Hons.) in Fine Art at the University for the Creative Arts Canterbury in 2000 followed by an M.F.A. in Fine Art Practice from the University of Middlesex, London in 2002 and in 2004, and an M.A. in Aesthetics and Art Theory (Merit) from The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), University of Middlesex, (now at  Kingston University), London. Kirwan’s recent exhibitions include the ’Personal Structures’ 2013, Palazzo Bembo, 54th Venice Biennale; Folkestone Triennial Fringe, 2014, Folkstone; ‘Image of the Road’, 2014, James Hockey Gallery, Surrey, University for the Creative Arts (UCA); ’Personal Structures - Crossing Borders,’ Palazzo Bembo, 56th Venice Biennale, Bodrum Biennial 2015; Bodrum; International Festival of Projections 2016, Kent; Fonlad Festival 2016, Coimbra, Portugal; Rapid Pulse Festival 2016, Chicago, USA ; ‘East Sussex Open’, 2016, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; ‘October 15 Ceremony’, 2016, Gallery Çenkaya, Ankara; Camaguëy International Video Art Festival 2017, Camaguëy, Cuba; ‘Personal Structures - Opens Borders,’ Palazzo Mora, 57th Venice Biennale 2017; ’Thread of Light,’ 2017, P-21, London; ‘Sussex Open’ (2017), Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; Folkestone Triennial Fringe (2017), Folkestone.       
About Tom Lane
Tom Lane is a composer, sound designer and multi-instrumentalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Born in Bristol in 1984, he studied music at Balliol College Oxford, composition at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and composition and experimental music theatre at the Berlin University of the Arts. Recent work includes composition for Annie Ryan's new production of The White Devil at Shakespeare's Globe, London, music and sound design for a new production of Giselle at Project Arts Centre, Dublin,  and sound design for The Corn Exchange's production of The Seagull at the Dublin Theatre Festival. In 2015 he composed music for Romeo and Juliet at the Gate Theatre and Oedipus at the Abbey Theatre as part of the 2015 Dublin Theatre Festival (nominated for best sound design by the Irish Times Theatre Awards). In 2015 Tom also worked with Rob Moloney to create a new score for Ballet Ireland's acclaimed production of Coppélia choreographed and directed by Morgann Runacre-Temple. His new opera, Front Of House is  a  site-specific commission which opens at the Cork Opera House, Ireland in June. His work was recently described by the Independent as ‘Crafting something steeped in tradition while sounding fresh and contemporary…practically flawless.’

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