A Line Was Drawn (14mins, HD/Archive footage/Super8/Sound) weaves together material from a number of different sources including footage generated during the production of Making Her Mark, animated sequences, television archives and two distinct voiceover narrations.
The work explores how the world is structured through the creation of borders and boundaries, limiting movement. An integral part of the forming, imposing and maintaining of these delineations is the control over the narratives around them. Through its layered format and contrasting sources of sound, A Line Was Drawn aims to question the construct of seamless television documentary and news narratives tasked with conveying a particular story to convince or intrench a point of view.
The film meditates on the need of an individual to have their voice heard in the midst of rules of storytelling and dominant historical narratives. Underlying this are the relationships between human body and land, between the body of land and the sea, between the body of language and its separate words, between the body of a performer and her actions, between the bodies that make the film and the politics that erects partitions for the purposes of control.
A Line Was Drawn premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in the Experimenta strand on 6 October 2019.
A Line Was Drawn was commissioned and produced by The Wapping Project as part of the body of works Making Her Mark by Mairéad McClean. The production was supported by the Arts Council Northern Ireland and Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre and Uist Film, North Uist, Scotland.
Mairéad McClean works across film, video, sound and photography, using materials from a diverse range of sources, including found footage, historical and family archives, filmed performances and televisual media. Her single screen films and multi-media installations often focus on the ways in which ordinary people cope with forms of control. Whether the camera follows actual events or reenactments by a performer, the protagonists engage in challenging or circumventing authority. Memory, and how and why we remember, has been the central theme of much of Mairéad’s work.
In 2021/22, she has been the Decade of Centenaries artist in residence at the Trinity Longroom Hub, Trinity College Dublin. In 2014, won the inaugural MAC International Art Prize. Her work No More was acquired for the National Collection of Ireland at The Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2017.
Her work is featured in Artists’ Moving Image in Britain since 1989, edited by Erika Balsom, Lucy Reynolds and Sarah Perks, published by Yale University Press in 2019, and the forthcoming Portraits of Irish Art in Practice by Jennifer Keating, Palgrave Macmillan, 2023.