In 2007 I had the opportunity to live during five months on and off Sherkin, a small island in West Cork, Ireland with a population of 90 people. I produced a work with some of them.
The main character in this work is Barry, a young fisherman popular on the island, who died prematurely in 2002. Since the day of his death his van remained parked where he left it, with his fishing utensils, his coffee mug and the keys still inside it. Back then, it was common to find abandoned cars around the island, a new situation explained by the economic boom the country was experiencing. It was often simpler to buy a new car than taking it outside the island to be repaired.
In the previous years, Barry’s relatives and the community had prevented its removal from the island. Therefore, the van had become the oldest abandoned vehicle in Sherkin. Its sudden loss of functionality and the special meaning that the van had acquired in the eyes of the community turned the vehicle into a spontaneous meaningful local monument. Two or three months after my arrival I found out that a decision had been finally made for the van to be taken to a scrapyard on account of its dilapidated condition. However, Barry’s family, knowing that I had taken interest in the vehicle, asked if I wanted to do something special with it before its destruction.
I proposed to organize a team made up of friends and relatives of Barry in which each one of them contributed with something: his brother helped with a small cargo ferry, one of his friends brought a crane, another one offered his mechanical workshop and a few of them contributed recording with their video cameras. Together with them and their resources, we organized the removal of the van from its location to the workshop in Skibbereen.
For about a month basic repairs were carried out on the engine and the chassis, new brakes were fitted and the tires were changed so it could start running and return to its original site on the island without having to be towed. A few days later the van was taken to the scrapyard.
A storyboard and a documentary video came out as a result of this process.
DVD 13”33’, storyboard (7 pages, 21 x 29.5 cm)
and various documents.
Produced by WCAC. Skibbereen, West Cork, Ireland.