A borrowed human heart will be returned to Cork… by ship
It was discovered in a crypt in Cork in 1863.
On Saturday, September 14th, 2019, the L.É. James Joyce will sail up the River Lee from Haulbowline Island with some very precious cargo: an embalmed human heart.
Lisa Hannigan will be on board with the relic in its lead casket, unearthed inside a pillar in the medieval crypt of Christ Church and later acquired by General Pitt Rivers, the ethnologist and archaeologist, who was stationed in Cork for a time.
The relic, which is undated and as yet unclaimed, later became part of the extraordinary collection of artefacts housed in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.
Now, as part of Heartship, a new project by artist Dorothy Cross that will be staged in Cork as part of the Sounds from a Safe Harbour festival, the heart will be briefly returned to its home, where it will go on display in The Glucksman Gallery, University College Cork, until the September 23rd, 2019.
As the ship moves upriver, the recorded sound of Lisa’s ethereal voice will float across the water, together with the extraordinary sound of the glass armonica, formed by fingers running water over glass, played by Alasdair Malloy.
Renowned filmmaker Alan Gilsenan will work with Dorothy Cross to create a film that embodies Heartship. When complete, the film will be screened at The Crawford Gallery.
“Heartship has been haunting me for the past three years… wishing to honour the many hearts of migrant people who disappear below the ocean surface and lie unnamed on the sea-bed.” explains Cross.
“A lone figure will be visible wandering on board a Navy ship as it sails upstream to Cork City. The beautiful ethereal voice of Lisa Hannigan will emanate from the ship intertwined with the sounds of glass armonica and water phone – which are instruments that create sound through water. A human heart will be harboured within the ship – a sacred cargo of an unknown person found in Cork in 1863.”
When the ship docks, an audience will be able to hear a live, free performance by Lisa who will remain onboard.