Sue Morris

Analogue Days

‘Place can never be generalized like it is on the Euro notes; it will always connect to somewhere in our autobiographies – future and past. It is an amorphous ungainly feeling that enables us to articulate feelings of familiarity or estrangement, and for the most part is better left ignored because it can be unbearable’
Tacita Dean, Place (2005)

Sue Morris moved from London to Coolaney, a remote village in County Sligo, Ireland, in the early nineties where she lived for 23 years before relocating to Derry 4 years ago.

In April 2019 she undertook a residency in the rural village of Pietrafitta, Italy.

The villages of Coolaney and Pietrafitta, separated by 1,700 miles, and located in different countries, bear striking similarities. Both are located in mountainous regions (the Ox Mountains and the Apennine Mountains respectively) and consist of a Main Street with a Community Centre and church at the heart. Both had post offices that closed some time ago, limited public transport (one bus a day) and schools under threat (the school in Pietrafitta has long since gone). They shared a similar size population, including a small cohort of émigrés. Economically, both regions relied on small-scale agriculture and had been impacted by rural depopulation.

However, while Pietrafitta’s economy and population remains in decline, the village maintains a strong sense of pride, communality and local traditions. In contrast, Coolaney boomed under the Celtic Tiger. The village is now surrounded by satellite housing estates; its close-knit community and traditional way of life ruptured.

In Analogue Days the autobiographical is examined in parallel to wider economic, social and cultural contexts. The work is restricted to the use of analogue technology – notebooks, a typewriter, cyanotype and polaroid/disposable/pinhole cameras. It investigates the impact of rural depopulation and emigration. In so doing, it seeks to understand what it means to live somewhere – to remain/leave/return – and the temporal nature of change.

Year2019LocationPietrafitta FR, ItalyDescriptionThree-week artist residencyPartnersSt Augustine'sFundersArts Council of Northern IrelandDerry City & Strabane District Council