Since 1999, SOFTDAY, the collaboration of Seán Taylor and Mikael Fernström has developed a number of high profile science/art projects. Both artists are interested in exploring ‘the cracks’ between various media such as expanded theatre, sound art, socially engaged art practice, music, dance and the application of new technologies.
In 2000 the artists presented Blian le Báisteach (A Year With Rain), played by the Irish Chamber Orchestra at the University Concert Hall in Limerick. The composition was constructed using rainfall data supplied by Met Éireann for the year 1999-2000. The concert was web-cast live from the University Concert Hall and the work was also showcased in the Irish Pavilion for EXPO 2000 in Hanover, Germany. This CD/ROM was released in 2000.
In 2002 the artists completed Cóisir an tSionann (The Shannon Suite) which was performed by the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Daghda Dance Company and the Berlin-based choir ‘Der Brullchor’ (the Roaring Choir), in the Turbine Hall of Ardnacrusha Power Station, Co. Clare. A CD of this work was released on the Softday label in December 2002. In May 2005 they completed a commission for RTÉ lyric fm entitled ‘TXTULTR’, which featured the Softday Ensemble, Daghdha Dance Company and staff of RTÉ lyric fm; a CD/ROM was released on the Softday label.
In 2010 Softday were commissioned to write Marbh Chrois (Dead Zone), by Donegal County Council’s Public Art Office in partnership with Leonardo/OLATS. This computer-generated music composition was constructed using marine data mapping of two ‘contested’ marine Dead Zones in Killybegs Harbour and Donegal Bay. The Donegal Youth Orchestra, the Softday Ceili Band and St.Catherine’s Marching Band Killybegs performed the work. A unique 2GB USB Fish artifact created by Softday for the project is available from the CMC Shop.
In 2011 Softday were prizewinners of the prestigious project EUROPE – A SOUND PANORAMA, and they performed their work in a live concert in Karlsruhe at ZKM (Kubus). Deutschlandradio Kultur recorded the live concert. In April 2013 they premiered a new multimedia sound art composition/project entitled Amhrán na mBeach (Song of the Bees). The live premiere of this new work took place in Glenstal Abbey, Murroe, Co. Limerick and featured the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the monks of Glenstal Abbey, and the Softday Apiary Ensemble. A USB artifact of Amhrán na mBeach’ (Song of the Bees) containing a full video of the performance plus audio and e-book of the project is available from the CMC shop.
In October 2014 Softday, in collaboration with the Limerick City Gallery of Art, were commissioned by Limerick National City of Culture 2014 to perform a newly re-scored live performance of Amhrán na mBeach’ - Song of the (Urban) Bees. The live performance featured The Blue Monk Quartet, The Boherbouy Brass and Reed Band, The Softday Apiary Ensemble and performance artist Michele Collins. A limited edition artifact that contains the documentation and recording of the live concert will be available in early 2015.
Uisce Salach (Dirty Water) is a collaborative sound art project about contested water issues in Ireland. Softday initiated a collaborative art process, creating a significant citizen’s art-science project inspired by water analyses from domestic water supplies, from the River Liffey, its tributaries in Dublin City and from Dublin Port. In November 2019, Uisce Salach (Dirty Water) was performed live in Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin, by the Irish Chamber Orchestra led by Kenneth Rice, in combination with the Softday Citizen Scientist Ensemble. A new choral composition If I fall in the Liffey was performed by the Uisce Salach Choir. Special guests included Declan Byrne, Michael Foran and John Walsh from the Dublin Dockworkers Preservation Society and award winning sound artist La Cosa Preziosa.
“The likely interconnectedness of all things possible, The sound of blue,The shape of air,The colour of silence, The aroma of B flat, To the tempo of Pi, Again!”. (Softday Manifesto, Seán Taylor / Mikael Fernström)