Digging with Heaney

March 2014

 

Digging with Seamus Heaney

 


Digging With Seamus Heaney, a site-specific poetry performance public art project by the Russian/ British/ Irish visual artist Varvara Shavrova. In commemoration of the Nobel Prize winning poet, Varvara Shavrova created a site specific sound installation inspired by two seminal poems by Seamus Heaney performed in four languages, English, Irish, Mandarin and Russian. The piece was performed by three poets 30 metres down, inside a construction pit, in the heart of Beijing business district, creating a ‘temple of sound’ that rose up to the audience.

“文化爱尔兰”项目资助申请书/爱尔兰驻华使馆
2014年3月3日

和谢默斯·希尼一起发掘

谢默斯·希尼-缅怀-爱尔兰-中国
Concept: ‘Digging With Seamus Heaney ‘is a site-specific poetry performance
‘rehearsal’ and a public art project by the Russian/ Irish visual artist Varvara
Shavrova for the Irish Culture Festival in Beijing 2014. It is supported by the Irish
Embassy and Culture Ireland, in consultation with ARUP (Beijing).
主题:《和谢默斯·希尼一起发掘》诗歌表演公共艺术项目由俄罗斯/爱尔兰
视觉艺术家Varvara Shavrova 为2014北京爱尔兰文化节特别呈现。项目得到爱尔
兰驻华大使馆以及文化爱尔兰的支持。
Date: 12 th March 2014, 19:00
日期:2014年3月12日, 19:00
Venue: Beijing CBD construction site – open earthwork.
场地:英皇总部大楼/建筑工地——开放工地。
Varvara Shavrova (visual artist and curator, Ireland/ Russia) in collaboration with Xi
Chuan (poet, China), Helen Wing (poet, UK) and Valeriy Rudenko (artist, poet and
translator, Russia) will create a public art installation and performance project
commemorating Seamus Heaney in Beijing by using the poet’s two poems, ‘Digging’
and ‘Belderg’, as genesis texts.
沙妩若Varvara Shavrova(视觉艺术家、导演,爱尔兰/俄罗斯)将与中国诗人
西川、英国诗人Helen Wing、以及爱尔兰诗人和广播节目主持人Vincent Woods合
作,以希尼的两首诗“发掘”和“贝尔德格”为灵感,在北京创造一个公共艺
术装置和表演项目,以纪念曾获得诺贝尔文学奖的已故爱尔兰诗人谢默斯·希
尼。
Varvara Shavrova will create a site-specific sound installation ‘rehearsal’ inspired by
two seminal poems by Seamus Heaney performed in three languages, English,
Mandarin and Russian. The Mandarin and Russian translations of the two poems are
written especially for Shavrova’s public artwork by Chinese Poet-Laureate Xi Chuan.
受希尼这两首诗歌的启发,沙妩若 将在特定场所,即位于北京商务中心区的建
筑工地的开放基坑中,创造一个崭新的“声响焰火”艺术装置。 烟火将希尼的
诗歌用英语、爱尔兰语、中文和俄语四种语言呈现出来。诗歌的中文版是由诗
人西川为这个公共艺术项目特别奉献的。

Using an original recording of Seamus Heaney’s voice produced by RTE as the central
piece, Varvara Shavrova will create an installation where the sound will focus on
Heaney’s reading and be taken up by the poets so that the poems resonate around
the space in the pit and then and ascend up to the audience.
沙妩若的艺术装置将使用RTE广播电台录制的谢默斯·希尼诵读诗歌的原声作为
核心并将其他诗人的诗歌诵读加入其中,让声音在基坑上空升腾回荡并进入现
场听众耳中。
The sound installation in the form of ‘sound and verse performance’ will respond to
traditional Chinese temple architecture and Irish megalithic tombs and structures,
placed inside an open earthwork pit inside a construction site in the centre of Beijing
CBD (City Business District). The performance will be held inside the ‘pit’ and create
parallels between Heaney’s poems about archaeological and artistic processes
brought to one pane by the metaphorical and physical process of ‘digging’. The open
‘pit’ set will resonate both with European megalithic tombs and ancient Chinese
temples, as well as bring associations with public speeches, theatrical performances
and sporting events held inside classical Greek and Roman amphitheatres.
由声响和诗歌表演构成的声音表演装置将参照中国寺庙建筑风格和爱尔兰巨石
墓葬的结构。表演时它将被放置在位于商务中心区的建筑工地的开放基坑中,
这样可以将希尼诗歌中关于考古和艺术发掘的描述与现实建筑施工中的挖掘工
作相呼应和比较。这个开放的装置将引发人们对欧洲巨石结构和中国寺庙建筑
风格的共鸣,并联想到在希腊和罗马时期露天剧场公共演讲、演出和体育活动
的场景。
The live site specific performance by three poets will use voice and visual effects and
Heaney’s poetry in English, Russian and Chinese. The intention is to reflect with
performance and sound on how Heaney’s poetic voice transmutes across borders
through the English, Chinese, Russian and Irish speaking worlds. The poets will be
reading and resonating together in multiple languages signaling as the poems
‘Digging’ and ‘Belderg’ suggest the commonality of human endeavor.
演出时有现场由四位诗人来到现场表演。他们将用英语、爱尔兰语、俄语和中
文来同时朗诵希尼的诗歌参与的特别表演将会运用声音和视觉效果,将希尼的
诗歌用英语、爱尔兰语、俄语和中文同时呈现。从他们的表演和声音中意在向
人们可以想像展示希尼的富于诗意的声音如何穿越不同的国界用,在英文、 语
、爱尔兰文语、俄文语和中文在不同的使用国家和地区广泛流传。四位诗人们
将一起用不同的语言诵读。 他们的声音将,不同的语言形成共鸣 ,从而表达
出希尼在传递“发掘”和“贝尔德格”中所描绘的表达出的人类奋进的共同性

The venue for the performance, in the earthworks, aims to stimulate thought and
feeling around the ideas of cultivation, excavation, sowing, reaping, building, digging
for sustenance and understanding and expression. The imagery of the venue, like
Heaney’s, is timeless and borderless. The choice to do the performance at night will
enable Shavrova to use the lighting, the sounds of performed verses and the setting

inside the open earth to effect, both with reference to casting light, digging and
building as symbols of creativity and progress of human endeavour.
In order to realize the project to its full spectacular capacity and reach the widest
audiences, Shavrova will engage in collaboration and work with sound engineers and
audio specialists to draw upon the elements of speech rhythm and inflection, to
develop a spectacular display of directed sound within the structure of the non
space and the architectural void. Although the work is a public art, it is non-
participatory. The audience will be observing the event from the existing platform,
and looking down at the performing poets, thus increasing the effect of looking into
the classical amphitheater or arena. The viewers will not be able enter the art space.
No general public will attend and the event is by invitation only.
在一个商务中心区的建筑工地的开放基坑中呈现这个艺术装置和表演可以,激
发人们的思考和感觉,因为这样的场地可以给人们一个没有时间和空间界限的
的想像空间。 这就像对希尼的诗歌一样,因为他的诗歌也没有时间和空间的界
线。这个项目将在夜间呈现出来,沙妩若将因此得以用灯光、诗歌诵读的声音
和基坑内的装置来实现她所期待的诗意效果,而灯光的映照,发掘和建筑将共
同象征人类创造力和奋进过程。
为了充分实现这些效果并让尽可能广泛的观众身临其境,Shavrova将和灯光师
和音响师充分合作,凭借诵读的节奏和回声,在这个空旷的空间实现定向的声
音展示。这是一个不需要公众参与的公共艺术作品。现场观众将在特定的平台
视角向下来观看在建筑基坑中进行的诗歌表演,这样会增强观众仿佛置身于古
典露天剧场或者竞技场的效果。现场观众将被隔离在艺术空间之外,只有获得
特别邀请的来宾才可以亲临现场观看演出。
Varvara Shavrova
Dublin/ Beijing
February 2014
沙妩若
都柏林/北京
2014年2月


Biographical Details
诗人简介
Varvara Shavrova (Russia/ Ireland) 沙妩若 (俄罗斯/ 爱尔兰)
Born in a family of artists in Moscow, Varvara Shavrova moved to London in 1989 where she
lived and worked for over 15 years. In 2005 Shavrova moved to China with her Irish engineer
husband (ARUP) who was heading, together with world famous Dutch architect Rem
Koolhaas (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), the design and construction of China
Central Television headquarters in Beijing CBD. Shavrova stayed in China for five and a half
years and over this period she worked mainly with Chinese artists and curators, and
participated and instigated a number of ground breaking visual arts projects in Beijing and
Shanghai. In 2010 Shavrova moved to Ireland with her family and now lives and works in
Dublin and Ballycastle, Co.Mayo. She regularly travels to China where she is currently
working on her latest film, as well leading a number of international visual arts and
collaborative projects.
生于莫斯科一个艺术世家的沙妩若 (Varvara Shavrova),1989年移居伦敦,并在那工作
生活了15余年。2005年,沙妩若和她身为工程师的先生移居中国,她的先生曾与世界
级著名建筑师Rem Koolhaas (OMA)合作,设计并完成了中央电视台新址项目。沙妩若在
中国生活了5年半,在这段时间之内,她与中国艺术家和策展人合作,在北京和上海参
与、发起了一系列具有开创意义的视觉艺术项目。2010年,沙妩若 随家人搬回到爱尔
兰,现在生活在都柏林、巴利卡斯尔和梅奥郡等地。她经常访问北京,目前专注她最
新电影的同时,还负责一系列国际视觉艺术及合作项目。
Shavrova’s projects include over 20 solo exhibitions in Dublin, Galway, Sligo, London, Los
Angeles, Berlin, Frankfurt, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Shanghai and Beijing, and a number of
curatorial visual arts projects, artistic initiatives and group exhibitions in Ireland, UK, Italy
and China. Shavrova curated a number of international group projects, including ‘Through
the Lens: new media art from Ireland’ in Beijing where she co-ordinated visual arts
programme for the First Festival of Irish Culture at Beijing Art Museum of Imperial City, in
2008. In 2005 Shavrova conceived and realised a highly ambitious international art and
architecture project, ‘Map Games: Dynamics of Change’. The project was realised in 2008-
2009, in collaboration with Chinese curator Feng Boyi and studio OffiCina in Beijing, and
represented specially commissioned works by 22 Chinese and international artists and
architects reflecting on changing Beijing prior to the Olympics. ‘Map Games’ received high
critical acclaim and toured from Today Art Museum in Beijing to Birmingham Museums and
Art Gallery in UK and to CAOS Centre for Contemporary Arts in Terni, Italy.
沙妩若的项目包括在世界各地展出的20个独立的展览,以及一系列视觉艺术项目的策
展,艺术倡议、国际合作项目等等,包括2008年在北京展出的《透过镜头-来自爱尔
兰的新媒体艺术》,她是首届爱尔兰文化节视觉艺术项目的协调人。2005年,她促成
了一个抱负远大的国际艺术和建筑项目《地图游戏:变化的动力》。这一项目在
08-09年,在奥运会举办之前向世人呈现了22位包括中国在内的来自不同国家的艺术
家和建筑师的作品。这一项目受到广泛好评,并在今日艺术馆,伯明翰博物馆和英国
的艺术画廊以及意大利特尔尼的CAOS现代艺术中心巡回展出。
Shavrova’s recent projects include ‘The Opera’, a multi-media six screen projected
installation at Espacio Cultural El Tanque, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, in November 2011. ‘The

Opera’ solo exhibition at the Gallery of Photography Ireland opened Dublin Chinese New
Year Festival 2012 and toured to Limerick City Art Gallery and Ballina Arts Centre in 2012.
Shavrova participated with a solo project ‘Mirrors on the Opera’ in 2012 Pingyao
International Photography Festival in China, and took part in ‘New Irish landscapes’ group
show at the Three Shadows Photography Arts Centre in Beijing in 2013, as part of the Irish
Culture Festival, both projects curated by Tanya Kiang, Gallery of Photography Ireland.
沙妩若的近期项目包括:《歌剧》,由六块多媒体屏幕组成的装置艺术展览,先后在
欧洲多个不同地方展览。她还参与了独立项目《歌剧上的镜子》并在2012年的平遥国
际摄影展展出,以及组合项目《新爱尔兰风景》,并作为爱尔兰文化节的一部分2013
年在北京展出。
Shavrova is currently exhibiting her Opera project in London, a solo multi-media show at
Patrick Heide Contemporary Art. She is also working on completing a feature length artist’s
film based on an international artistic community living inside a 600-year old Buddhist
Temple in an old Beijing hutong that is currently undergoing a dramatic change of use.
Shavrova’s Digging With Seamus, a site specific public art work and performance dedicated
to the memory of Ireland’s greatest poets of the 20 th and 21 st centuries, Seamus Heaney, will
form part of Irish Culture Festival in Beijing in March 2014. Shavrova received a number of
international awards and fellowships including Culture Ireland grants, London Arts Board
grant, Ballinglen Arts Foundation fellowship awards and Prince’s Trust artist’s travelling
award. Shavrova’s works can be found in important public and private collections, including
Department of Foreign Affairs, Arts Council England, Museum of Modern Art Moscow,
among others.
沙妩若目前正在伦敦展出她的《歌剧》项目,她同时还在完成一部艺术电影,讲述一
个居住在北京胡同中具有600年历史的寺庙中的国际艺术家群体的故事。作为对爱尔兰
20世纪和21世纪最伟大的世人谢默斯希尼的纪念,《和希尼一起发掘》项目将作为
2014年爱尔兰文化节的一部分在北京和观众见面。沙妩若获得了一系列的国际奖项和
荣誉。她的作品被公共机构和私人广泛收藏,包括外交部,英国艺术委员会,莫斯科
当代艺术博物馆等等。
Xi Chuan (China) 西川 (中国)
Xi Chuan (official name Liu Jun), poet, essayist, translator, was born in the City of Xuzhou,
Jiangsu province, in 1963. He studied English literature at the Peking University. He is
currently teaching Classical Chinese Literature at the School of Liberal Arts, Central Academy
of Fine Arts in Beijing. Xi Chuan is one of the most influential poets in contemporary China.
He has been well known in the Chinese literary scene since his student days. In 1988, he
founded, with friends, the unofficial poetry journal Qingxiang (Tendency), which was,
however, banned after three issues. From 1990 to 1995 he worked as an editor for the
unofficial magazine Xiandai Hanshi (Modern Chinese Poetry). He is now one of the two chief-
editors of the magazine Dangdai Gouji Shitan (Contemporary World Poetry). 


西川(本名刘军),诗人,散文作家,翻译。他1963年出生于江苏省徐州市。他曾在
北京大学学习英语言文学,目前在中央美院教授中国古典文学。西川是中国当代最有
影响力的诗人之一,从学生时代起就广受关注。他是《当代国际诗坛》的主编之一。
He has published five collections of poems to date. His series of poems Jinghua Shuiyue
(Flowers in the Mirror and the Moon on the Water) was adapted into an experimental play
directed by Meng Jinghui and was well accepted at the 35th Festival Internacional
Cervantino, Mexico, 2007. In 2005, the Italian visual Artist Marco Mereo Rotelli made a giant

installation named Poetry Island with 12 poems from 12 poets (including Adonis, Yves
Bonnefoy, Charles Tomlinson, Tadeusz Rozewicz and Xi Chuan) and exhibited it at the 51st La
Biennale di Venezia.
西川目前出版了5本诗集。他的诗作《镜花水月》系列被戏剧导演孟京辉改编为实验话
剧,并在2007年参加在墨西哥举办的第35节塞万提斯国际戏剧节。2005年,意大利视
觉艺术家 Rotelli 制作了一个被称做诗歌岛的装置,西川的作品是12首入选诗歌之一。
这一项目还参加了第51届威尼斯双年展。
The composer Guo Wenjing turned Xi Chuan’s poem ‘Yuanyou’ (Long Journey) into a piece
of music and was performed in 2004 by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra conducted
by Edo de Waart. 

In 1997 he edited the collected works of the poet-hero Hai Zhi, who
committed suicide in 1989. He also works as a translator, mainly of poetry. He has translated
works by Seamus Heaney, Ezra Pound, Jorge Luis Borges, Czesław Miłosz and Olav. H. Hauge
into Chinese. 

Xi Chuan has been awarded numerous prizes, including: in 1994, the
Modern Chinese Poetry Prize; in 1999, one of the top ten winners at the Weimar
International Essay Prize Contest; in 2001, the national Lu Xun Prize.
曲作者郭文静把西川的诗作《远游》谱曲并在2004年由香港交响乐团演奏。1997年,
他编辑出版著名诗人海子的诗集。西川还是诗歌翻译家,翻译了包括谢默斯·希尼以
及Ezra Pound, Jorge Luis Borges, Czesław Miłosz and Olav. H. Hauge等多人的诗歌。西川曾
经多次获奖:1994年获得中国现代诗歌奖,1999年,成为获得魏玛国际散文竞赛奖的
十位作家之一。2001年,获得鲁迅文学奖。

Valeriy Rudenko (Russia) (俄罗斯)
Was born in Moscow and graduated from Moscow Architectural Institute. He is a member
of Moscow Art Union, Moscow Architectural Guild and the Journalist Guild of Russia. He is a
prize-winning architect as well as a fine art book illustrator and translator. He has translated
many Chinese poets into Russian. He has illustrated 40 books for children, some by famous
Russian storytellers and has exhibited at the book art fairs in Moscow and has had particular
praise for his work on Old Beijing. He moved to China in 1987 and his artwork is influenced
by his wide travels in China. He also works as an architect and graphic designer here in
Beijing as well as publishing essays and novels about China in the internet magazine
"KRUGOZOR". His poetry translations are published in China and Russia.
Awards and Prizes: Third prize for project of building of Academy of Since of the USSR, First
prize for the Alma-Ata concert hall project, First prize for illustration of the book “USSR is
your motherland”, book illustration exhibitions in Moscow, recent canvases sold to private
collections.

Helen Wing (England) (英国)
Helen Wing is a poet and a fiction writer who lives variously in Beijing, Cairo and London.
She was born in London and studied Spanish and French at Cambridge University. She
completed her PhD in Spanish Poetry and published widely in Hispanic and Comparative

Poetics as an academic. Currently she is Writer-in- Residence at Harrow International School
where she publishes an annual poetry book project with Harrow students and the students
at Project Hope Vocational School, a migrant children’s charity school based in Wangjing.
She has stories published in the Mississippi Prize Review, the Southern Cross Review, in the
Tale of Four Cities and Sukoon and poetry published in a recently Middle Eastern anthology
called 'Nowhere near a damned rainbow: unsanctioned writing of the Middle East.' In 2012
she rose to no.4 on Amazon's e-kindle poetry with her poetic work Archangel. She spends
most of her time writing poems…
Helen Wing 是在北京、开罗和伦敦生活的诗人和小说家。她出生于伦敦并在剑桥大学
学习西班牙语和法语。她获得了西班牙诗歌的博士学位,并以学者的身份发表了众多
研究西班牙诗歌和比较诗学的著作。她目前是北京哈罗国际学校的驻校作家,每年出
版一部收录哈罗国际学校和希望职业学校学生的诗歌创作诗集,后者是位于望京的打
工子弟学校。她还在Mississippi Prize Review, the Southern Cross Review, in the Tale of Four
Cities and Sukoon等刊物发表作品,她的诗作最近被收录于一本中东诗选。2012年,她
的诗集《大天使》在亚马逊电子书的销售榜上排名第四。她生命中的大部分时光都在
创作诗歌。
Helen Wing and Xi Chuan have collaborated in past projects: first 2012 International
Women’s Day poetry reading by Chinese and English Speaking poets; 2013 Capital – M
Beijing ‘Poetry as Fire’ Helen Wing and XiChuan – Poetry as Fire. A discussion based on the
belief that poetry is all that is not lost in translation – against Frost. Helen has also written
for an introduction to Varvara Shavrova’s Borders project.
Helen Wing和西川曾多次合作:2013年国际妇女节中英双语诗歌诵读会首次合作。2013
年“诗歌如火焰”项目再次合作,探讨诗歌并没有因为语言转换而失去原有意境
。Helen还曾为, 沙妩若的边界项目做序。

Project Venues, Partners and Sponsors
项目地点、合作伙伴和赞助者
Venue: Building site in CBD Beijing close to Irish Embassy (Emperor Group / Arup site)
地点:位于商务中心区的建筑工地,邻近爱尔兰使馆,具体地点待定 (英皇/奥雅纳
北京)
Engineering consultant: Chas Pope, Associate Director (ARUP, Beijing).
技术支持:Chas Pope, 副总监(ARUP , Beijing)
Construction company partners: Emperor Group
建筑公司合作伙伴:英皇 (待定 )
Sound installation and new media co-ordinator: Jonah Jiang (Beijing)
装置和新媒体协调人: Jonah Jiang (Beijing)

Official partners and sponsors

Irish Culture Festival Beijing 2014; Beijing Bookworm Literature Festival 2014; Embassy of
Ireland, Beijing; Chaoyang District Government; Culture Ireland; Arts Council Ireland; Dublin
City Council; Beijing Dublin Twinning Committees
官方合作伙伴
爱尔兰文化节北京2014,老书虫书店2014文学节,爱尔兰使馆,朝阳区政府,文化爱
尔兰,爱尔兰艺术协会,都柏林市政厅,商务中心区(待定),北京都柏林友好协会
Commercial/ industry sponsors
Construction company, CBD (Emperor Group)
Company to provide additional floodlighting for the site
Sound equipment and events production company
Media resources and installation software company
商业赞助
建筑公司、商务中心区, ‘英皇’,照明设备提供商,设备提供商,媒体协助和软件
支持
Film Crew:
Sound, Lighting, Camera and admin. China In A Box, Beijing
拍摄剧组:
声音、灯光、电影和行政事物 .北京华景合咨询有限公司

Belderg
BY SEAMUS HEANEY
 
‘They just keep turning up
And were thought of as foreign’-
One-eyed and benign,
They lie about his house,
Quernstones out of a bog.
To lift the lid of the peat
And find this pupil dreaming
Of neolithic wheat!
When he stripped off blanket bog
The soft-piled centuries
Fell open like a glib;
There were the first plough-marks,
The stone-age fields, the tomb
Corbelled, turfed and chambered,
Floored with dry turf-coomb.
A landscape fossilized,
Its stone wall patternings
Repeated before our eyes
In the stone walls of Mayo.
Before I turned to go
He talked about persistence,
A congruence of lives,

How stubbed and cleared of stones,
His home accrued growth rings
Of iron, flint and bronze.
So I talked of Mossbawn,
A bogland name ‘but Moss’?,
He crossed my old home’s music
With older strains of Norse.
I’d told how its foundation
Was mutable as sound
And how I could derive
A forked root from that ground,
Make bawn an English fort,
A planter’s walled-in mound.
Or else find sanctuary
And think of it as Irish,
Persistent if outworn.
‘But the Norse ring on your tree?’
I passed through the eye of the quern,
Grist to an ancient mill,
And in my mind’s eye saw,
A world-tree of balanced stones,
Querns piles like vertebrae,
The marrow crushed to grounds.

Digging” BY SEAMUS HEANEY” (An excerpt) 
 Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests; snug as a gun. Under my window, a clean rasping sound When the spade sinks into gravelly ground: My father, digging. I look down  Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds Bends low, comes up twenty years away Stooping in rhythm through potato drills Where he was digging.   The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft Against the inside knee was levered firmly. He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep To scatter new potatoes that we picked, Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

 

 

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Photos by Chas Pope