Cathy Fitzgerald’s ‘The black space (resilience) of the Ash night’ selected for 2013 UCD Science Expression film festival


9 Stones artist Cathy Fitzgerald’s new experimental film ‘The black space (resilience) of the Ash night’ (2013) was recently selected for the 2013 UCD Science Expression film festival. The film was shown with others in a mobile pop-up cinema to celebrate and reflect on the natural world. It was held at the Botanic Gardens, Dublin.


Notes on the film:

there is something deathly about the night. It is hard too when looking at these young Ash trees not to think of Ash die-back disease and the decimating effect it will have for Ireland’s most common native tree.

The ‘dark’ also in general terms, signals the blackness that is engulfing the earth’s non-human living communities due to the now globalised, ecocidal violence of industrialised culture. A culture that little acknowledges that it is causing the disappearance of an estimated 150-200 species each day, an unprecedented rate of destruction not seen since the dinosaurs disappearance millions of years ago, and an unprecedented predicament of unimaginable scale, that one species, our own, is threatening the viability of life on earth this century.

But this small forest growing in the shadow of Mt Leinster, Co. Carlow, naturally regenerating and diverse, does have genetic and environmental resiliencies… particularly if we tend and thin the trees – overcrowded trees are more stressed and more likely to be susceptible to disease and pests, ever increasing threats now with climate change

so there is something oddly reassuring about these young trees at night … all that quiet, relentless growing, in the cold, wet dark, amongst the brambles and Alder; supported in turn by the vast networks of decay and recycling by the microbial communities in the dark below


Cathy took these shots very late at night,  during late Jan 2013, in Hollywood, a permanent close-to-nature managed (non clearfell) forest, in south Co. Carlow. Cathy is a practice-thesis PhD candidate at the National College of Art & Design. Her art forest transformation project is part of her research,  ‘Modelling best practice in the emergent field of artful eco praxis: stories from a small Irish forest. More info at

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