October 27, 2017 - TULCA Festival of Visual Arts - They Call Us The Screamers
October 27, 2017

TULCA Festival of Visual Arts

Atlantis House, Burtonport, Co Donegal. © Pat Langan / The Irish Times.

They Call Us The Screamers
15th TULCA Festival of Visual Arts
November 3–19, 2017

Exhibition launch: November 3, 7–8pm
Connacht Tribune Print Works


Fabienne Audeoud, Sam Basu and Liz Murray, Kian Benson Bailes, David Beattie, Oisin Byrne, Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh, Vicky Langan and Maximilian Le Cain, Liz Magic Laser, McGibbon O'Lynn, Yvette Monahan, Yoko Ono, Plastique Fantastique, Richard Proffitt, Bob Quinn, Florian Roithmayr (with Meredith Monk), Kaspar Oppen Samuelsen and Marie-Louise Vittrup, Lucy Stein

Curated by Matt Packer


The 15th edition of TULCA Festival of Visual Arts—titled They Call Us The Screamers—features artworks by Irish and international artists that are presented across six venues in Galway city, Ireland: Galway Arts Centre, 126 Artist Run Gallery, Nun’s Island Theatre, Connacht Tribune Print Works, Barnacles Hostel, and University Hospital Galway.

The exhibition takes its reference from a book written by Jenny James, published by Caliban Books in 1980. The book is an account of Atlantis, the commune she established a few years earlier in the Gaeltacht village of Burtonport, County Donegal, Ireland—promoting an approach of de-programming from the modern Western world through therapeutic self-development and environmental self-sufficiency. The book is also a response to the controversies and scandals that embroiled the commune during their first years in Ireland, following accusations of cultish behaviour, kidnapping, and physical abuse. The members of the commune were collectively nicknamed "The Screamers" in a 1976 Sunday World article, referring to their practice of primal scream therapy—an adapted form of psychotherapy developed by Dr Arthur Janov that sought to re-enact the traumas of modern upbringing and thereby reverse the neurosis that follows in later life. 

In 1988, after more than ten years spent in Ireland, coinciding with broader cultural and political changes in the country (including EU membership and the concentration of British state violence in the North of Ireland), members of the Atlantis community departed for Colombia in a refurbished boat. 

They Call Us The Screamers provides the title and thematic compass for the exhibition, with artworks that are orientated to ideas held together by the historical episode. They include ideas of withdrawal and selfhood (Lucy Stein, Liz Magic Laser, Vicky Langan & Maximilian Le Cain, Richard Proffitt); autonomy and self-sufficiency (Kaspar Oppen Samuelsen & Marie-Louise Vittrup, David Beattie, Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh, Yvette Monahan); voice and neurosis (Florian Roithmayr, Yoko Ono, Fabienne Audeoud); future culture and community (Kian Benson Bailes, Plastique Fantastique, Sam Basu & Liz Murray, McGibbon O’Lynn, Oisin Byrne). The exhibition also features Bob Quinn’s The Family (1979)—a documentary film on Atlantis commissioned the Irish national broadcast network RTE as part of a (subsequently abandoned) TV series on alternative lifestyles, deemed too disturbing for Irish audiences at the time. 

They Call Us The Screamers is an exhibition that does not aim to illustrate Atlantis in Ireland, nor attempt to redress their controversy. Instead, the story gives way to a broader framework of practice-related ideas that develop from the countercultural psychology of the 1970s, seeking to reclaim an alternative future for self and society in today’s perspective.

A publication designed by Alex Synge / The First 47 will be available at all venues, featuring three newly commissioned texts by Sue Rainsford that sound the primal scream through the narrative forms of lyric essay, transcription, and testimony. The exhibition will also be accompanied by an extensive public programme. For further information and updates on events and programmes, please see: www.tulcafestival.com or contact info [​at​] tulcafestival.com.

Performance schedule

Performance by Plastique Fantastique
November 3, 6–7pm 
Nun's Island Theatre  

Performance by Oisin Byrne
November 3, 8–9pm 
Connacht Tribune Print Works 

Performance by Vicky Langan & Max Le Cain
November 4, 1–2pm 
Galway Arts Centre 

Performance by Plastique Fantastique
November 4, 2–3pm 
Nun's Island Theatre 

TULCA Festival of Visual Arts
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