2023 Best in Film and Video – Madison Grosvenor
The Breath of the Burren
Stop motion animation
In the Summer of 2022, I studied abroad in Ireland as a part of the Global Ecologies Studio in which I could explore County Clare’s biodiversity through art. “The Burren” is a biodiverse karst landscape on the west coast of Ireland. Inspired by the ecological cycles and beauty of the landscape, I hand-painted each animated frame, featuring various ecological connections, and studied thoroughly each phenomenon I was representing while attempting to create transitions that flowed effortlessly from one ecological function to another. As a result, this project chronicles the interdependence of the varying ecosystems and meditative atmosphere of the land of the Burren.
In the Summer of 2022, I studied abroad in Ireland as a part of the Global Ecologies Studio in which I could explore County Clare’s biodiversity as well as my personal art practice. “The Burren” is a karst/glaciokarst landscape centered in County Clare, on the west coast of Ireland. When I arrived I was fascinated by the biodiversity surrounding me. I began to realize how interconnected the landscape was between the rainfall, natural springs, and the sea, as well as how they relate to the karst (the limestone), the fields, and agriculture. I began to sketch and take note of these different elements of the landscape and inhabitants contributing to the flourishing biodiversity of this area.
My practice involves a lot of exploration in terms of animation and multi-media arts, so I wanted to create a moving image to show the interdependence of the terrain and really enter a sort of “retreat” into the landscape’s ecosystem ourselves. By hand-painting each animated frame, I was fully in tune and studied thoroughly each phenomenon I was representing while attempting to create transitions that flowed effortlessly from one ecological function to another. For example, I animated a connection between the cows’ impact on wildflower biodiversity through regeneration, especially in Ireland’s large orchid abundance, as well as phenomena like limpets and other producers’ integral roles in the biodiversity and habitat success of rockpools. I also experimented with nature recording in which I collected audio samples from the hazel forests, sounds throughout the tidepools and on the shore, and the sounds of our class’s interaction with the karst itself.
Through the overlaying of imagery and audio on top of each other over and over, I feel that I have recreated my vision and experience of the living, breathing Burren as its own entity, forever changing. I hope that the viewer feels like they can retreat into the meditative ebb and flow of the magical site, known as The Burren.