Remembering The Screamers for TULCA 2017

Matt Packer to curate city's visual arts festival

Members of The Atlantis Community filmed by RTÉ in 1981.

Members of The Atlantis Community filmed by RTÉ in 1981.

FROM ITS beginnings in a leftist London commune in the 1970s, to its becoming a controversial source of fascination in 1970s Ireland, 'The Screamers' were advocates of Arthur Janov primal therapy, and have inspired this year's TULCA festival.

They Call Us The Screamers is the title and theme of the 2017 TULCA Festival of Visual Art, which will run from November 3 to 19 at various locations around Galway, and will be curated by Matt Packer, the director of the Centre of Contemporary Art Derry.

"I’m using the story of Atlantis to unpack ideas that have relevance to contemporary art and culture in general," says Packer. "The Screamers sought to 'turn its back on the entire project of modern civilisation' and reverse the neurosis of a society that was heading in the wrong direction. Their story also speaks of broader ideas such as selfhood and anti-modernism that are worth revisiting in relation to the crisis of our present day."

TULCA 2017 will feature artworks that connect with these ideas and reference points, while also proposing their renewal in the present day. There will also be material from the Atlantis archives. The festival is also accepting submissions. The deadline is March 17. For more information see www.tulcafestival.com

They Call Us The Screamers takes its title from a book written by Jenny James, which details the history of Atlantis, the radical primal-therapy commune which she established in Ireland in the 1970s. The book tells the story of arrival in Ireland, the aspirational life of the commune, and the public notoriety that followed. They were nicknamed ‘The Screamers’ in a 1976 Sunday World article.

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