Musician and composer Jennifer Walshe will perform Ireland: A Dataset on Saturday September 26th, as part of the National Concert Hall's Imagining Ireland Livestream Series. 

A Dataset is a boisterous radiophonic play in which Jennifer uses AI to look at an Ireland in which everything from landscape to identity has been idealised, appropriated and remixed. Tickets are available here.

We asked Jennifer for her choice cultural picks...

FILM 

Are you rubbish at family weddings? Ever wish somebody could pretend to be you and engage in all that small talk? Well, turns out there’s a company that will provide that service. I am a huge Werner Herzog fan, and his recent film Family Romance, llc deals with the Japanese practice of "hiring" out people so that they can pretend to be specific family members and fill in for them. The actors Herzog cast in the film do this for a living, which makes the film doubly compelling. 

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I also loved Symbiotic Earth, a wonderfully poetic documentary about the evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis, helpfully organised into a series of chapters which can be watched separately or in succession. 

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MUSIC 

Eoin Murray's Anois, Os Ard column in The Quietus is an excellent overview of new and unusual sounds coming out of Ireland, and has plenty of embedded links to bring you over to Bandcamp. 

Unfamiliar with Bandcamp? Think of it as a huge independent record shop where you can ensure your hard-earned-at-home euros go direct to musicians. Try Úna Monaghan’s For, an album which blends harp and electronics into something ethereal and gorgeous, or Olivia Block’s Heave To, which features field recordings of the sea. 

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BOOK 

As we all return to or continue working from home, I’m thinking a lot about how tech affects everything from work to language. Shoshanna Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is a highly-detailed look at how the platforms which have come to dominate and power our daily lives monetise our behavioural data. 

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Let’s say you receive a text reading 'Hey’. How would you interpret it? Would it infuriate you? Gretchen McCulloch explains how the ‘passive-aggressive period’ and many other internet-native linguistic practices evolved in Because Internet. 

Also highly recommended are Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s A Ghost in the Throat, Mark O’Connell’s Notes from an Apocalypse and Joy Williams’ Ninety-Nine Stories of God. 

TV

Are you in the mood for ancient TV programmes, educational videos or promos about how computers are going to change the world? Then OldTimeyComputerShow is for you, a 24/7 stream on Twitch where you can watch people talking about cutting edge technological breakthroughs like being able to print AND read a document at the same time, or how AI will be able to write Shakespeare by the year 2003… 

GIG

One of the high points in a difficult summer was being able to watch Prince and the Revolution's Live in 1985 gig on YouTube. Fragments of it can still be found online, such as the 16-minute rendition of Purple Rain:

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The sheer joy of performance, what it means to all be in the same room together when something is happening live - I miss this tremendously, but Prince is so powerful that you somehow feel you're right there. What are we doing with our lives, really, if we’re not listening to or watching Prince whenever we get the chance? 

ART 

The last exhibition I saw before lockdown was Rem Koolhaas and AMO’s Countryside, The Future at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Strange but wonderful to be on the Upper East Side, making my way past a massive combine harvester and being followed around by agricultural robots. For Koolhaas and AMO, the countryside is the key site of the future, which has huge ramifications for how we might think about what Ireland is and what it might be. 

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Over the last few months, I’ve also found myself thinking a lot about those experiences I’ve had in a gallery which can’t ever be replicated online, in particular Mariko Mori’s Tom Na H-iu II, a sculpture full of changing lights which are triggered by neutrinos entering our atmosphere. 

TECH 

Circa Solar by Ted Hunt is an app which shows you a very different type of clock – one that shows you the proportion of light to darkness during the day where you are. Really helpful when that grand stretch in the evenings is a few months away and a quick glance at the app is all that’s needed to make you realise your window for a walk in daylight is closing. 

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Jennifer Walshe will perform Ireland: A Dataset on Saturday September 26th at 8 pm as part of the National Concert Hall's Imagining Ireland Livestream Series.