Meet the Artist in Residence for the Cork Midsummer Festival

Peter Power is artist in residence for Cork Midsummer Festival, 2020 to 2021. He is creative collaborator, composer and sound designer for ‘The Day Crossing Farm’.
Meet the Artist in Residence for the Cork Midsummer Festival

Peter Power is artist in residence for Cork Midsummer Festival

TELL us about yourself;

I am an arts worker, an artist, a designer; I’m essentially whatever allows me to be as creative as is reasonable and that pays my bills. I am currently the Artist in Residence for the Cork Midsummer Festival, and run my own company Sparsile Collective, creating immersive experiences led by music.

Where were you born?

Waterford city, born and bred.

Where do you live?

Currently living in Cork, my adopted county.

Family?

I do have a family, yes, they are wonderful and keep supporting my manic life choices.

Best friend?

Can’t say I have ever really had a ’best’ friend. I will say that during the pandemic I had to learn how to make that person ‘myself,’ which was no easy feat. 

I think everyone’s best friend should be themselves. Without of course becoming insufferable!

Earliest childhood memory?

Strange, watery images of yellow and sand and the cold. Clearly a beach somewhere. Childhood is a vague time.

Person you most admire?

Tough question. Admiration is a strange sensation, but one that should be generously given. I suppose it changes regularly. The tenacity and kindness of my family? The strangeness and subtle trolling of the Scottish comedian, Limmy? The dark oily music of Lorn? The extreme dedication of the Campaign for the Arts board? Anyone that works in the healthcare sector? Load sand loads of admiration floating around.

Person who most irritates you?

I think currently I could fill anyone that’s a Tory into this space. Starting with that straw-haired fool and working my way down through each and every one of the sentient Top Hats.

Who would you like to see as Minister for Finance, and why?

I would like to see a person who understood that economy was not a natural phenomenon, but rather a series of decisions made by a conscientious community of peers and equals, for the equitable outcome of all. Someone who didn’t sell us the shill’s pamphlet of “the market manages itself”. Someone with actual experience with actual economic research and theory who came from a background who understood affordable housing doesn’t start at €700k. Who understood that housing is not an investment opportunity, but a necessity. Basically, anyone with skills, experience and education that didn’t aim to further entrench the will of the current economy.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

A moment on the roof of a Berlin Club, watching the sun come up with a bunch of strangers. 

It felt wild and new and silly and it was just a perfect hour.

Favourite TV programme?

Still remains Arrested Development.

Favourite restaurant?

I had the privilege of going to the Michelin starred restaurant Aimsir in Kildare once, and it is hands down the most exceptional experience eating food. I was also brought to Ichigo Ichie once as a gift, and I left the place sort of dumbfounded by how excellent it was. Like being altered.

Last book you read?

Tongues, by Peggy O Brien.

Best book you read?

There is no such thing as a best book! But the last great book I read was Sara Baume’s Handiwork.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

I just started listening to the band Lalalar. Amazing grimy rocky stuff. Check ’em out.

Favourite song?

Still remains the song I Surrender by David Sylvian. He’s just such a soulful, silky smooth man.

One person you would like to see in concert?

Weirdly, I am not a huge fan of going to gigs, but I think if I was to go, I’d probably want to see someone like James Blake, live. His music has been interesting to me of late.

Morning person or night owl?

I am an unfortunate insomniac. So I am actually both a morning person and a night owl. 

I essentially rarely sleep.

Your proudest moment?

Ha, wow, that’s super-tough to answer. I guess it’s super-hard to feel proud, isn’t it? I suppose I have had a few moments in my life where things felt like they aligned and what I had worked for seemed to happen close to the way I hoped. 

Some of my career stuff has made me proud, but in a sort of ‘distant’ way, like it’s happening to someone else.

I remember once being in a conversation with a friend who told me that something I had said to them, advice I’d given, had really changed their life. I think it’s moments like that I feel proud. Doing something useful.

Spendthrift or saver?

I am a lush by nature, or another way of putting it is I am an idiot with money. But I try to save as I live an unstable life and my income is very unbalanced. So I try to prepare for the times I may have a dry spell. Which is, at all times, very likely.

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

The entire urban and city planning engagement with citizens, space, architecture and the role of the city itself. Ireland is absolutely archaic in its approach to citizenry. We treat people like fodder for shops, not actual inhabitants of the space. We do everything backwards here. 

I would love us to stop pretending there isn’t another way and start making people who plan our cities go on European breaks to other major cities in the world and see how they do it.

What makes you happy?

Ha, very little! Ah no, I have lots of happiness in my life. I think I am happiest when I feel I have achieved some sort of balance in things. I tend towards imbalance, and so to find a healthy balance of things brings a real sense of calm to my mind and I feel genuine happiness in that.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a good person. Or a person who tried to be a good person at least. And failed loads, but kept trying.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I’m involved in lots of art projects for the next while, in Cork, Carlow, Dublin, Kilkenny, online, so keep an eye out and you’ll see my name pop up here and there. I’d love you to come along if you can.

MORE ABOUT PETER

Peter Power is artist in residence for Cork Midsummer Festival 2020-2021. He is creative collaborator, composer and sound designer for ‘The Day Crossing Farm’, a multi-sensory art installation by visual artist Marie Brett, exploring issues of human trafficking, modern-day slavery and drug farming. The live installation, set in a secret Cork city, can be viewed by limited in-person audiences while a film of the artwork will be available to view online as part of the festival. Peter is also curating the online event, ‘Content’, during which he will spend time with fellow makers reflecting on value and meaning in the digital urgency of our age.

See www.corkmidsummer.com/

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