Artist Patrick Hough’s Film Premieres at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art

A NEW film by an emerging Irish artist will have its premiere at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) this weekend.

Patrick Hough’s new film The Black River of Herself premieres on Saturday (October 16) at NGCA. The title of Hough’s work is taken from a poem by Irish poet Seamus Heaney.

The 30-minute film, created in collaboration with Film and Video Umbrella, brings to life a fictional Irish Bog Body – an ancient corpse naturally preserved over thousands of years in Ireland’s peat bog lands. Scripted by novelist Daisy Hildyard, the film is an allegory of human-induced planetary change.

It traverses 300 million years of history across three sequences, during which the figure of The Bog Body returns to the surface of a world on the brink of ecological collapse. Brought to life through an innovative mix of puppetry effects and animatronics, The Bog Body urges its human discoverer to open their eyes; to learn from the many worlds that have gone before or face inevitable extinction.

As the race to save the Bog Body turns into an allegory about the future of the planet, Hough punctuates the narrative with panoramic views of an evergreen Irish landscape.

Steven Bode, Director of Film and Video Umbrella, said: “Premiering in the lead-up to the COP 26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Patrick Hough’s film The Black River of Herself sounds an ominous note of warning about the impending ecological emergency.

“That the warning is sounded by a voice from the ancient past is especially haunting, as Hough summons a primordial ‘Bog Body’ back to life to comment on the errors and terrors of the present. This is the second time Film and Video Umbrella has worked with Hough, and our faith in his talent has been amply rewarded with a film that is poetic, poignant, provocative and strikingly original.”

The Black River of Herself was produced by Tracy Bass, supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and Arts Council England.

The exhibition closes on January 9 next year.

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