Vanish Into Myth
, 2023
HD video, b/w, sound, 3'55'' (loop)
Variable dimensions

In 2019 I found in a flea market in London an album dating back to the early 20th century. Among the negatives there was one that caught my attention, perhaps because the man standing in front of the ancient Nature, with his back to us, reminded me of Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer (Wanderer above a Sea of Mist) (1818), by Caspar David Friedrich. There was also, not only in this image, but in all the images of this album, a very clear power of Nature that dissipated any fantasy of an Anthropocene victory.

I soon found out that this place was in the southwest region of Ireland, in the county of Kerry, and that it was called the Gap of Dunloe (Dún Lóich, in Irish).

More than three years later I landed in Cobh (Ireland) for an artist residency at SIRIUS. I confess that after a full winter week of attempts I was about to given up on going to the Gap. I tried many times, but for lack of transportation and under the insistent rain, I had fallen by the wayside. But then, in the same serendipitous way this album came into my hands, my fortune turned. I was lucky because I just happened to meet Andrea, the curatorial trainee at SIRIUS, who volunteered to drive me there on my last day.

After a few hours’ drive, we parked and started our hike. We took the old picture as a guide to find the place that was leaving us with only one clue, a stone bridge. At one point in our hike we came across a lady walking with her dog; we asked her if she knew where that bridge was. It was Mary Anne Coughlan, who had been born there, at Kate Kearney's Cottage, and who, a few years earlier, had written a book about the place. She explained where the bridge was. Andrea and I walked for about 11 miles until we spotted it. It was suspended above Augher Lake. I will always remember the walk through this place, so ancient, formed 25,000 years ago during Ireland's last ice age, and where today the mountains hold the secret of the water and the rocks hold the footprints of a time when other beings, much bigger than us, walked in this earth. By then I was sure that that winter day between the mountains, the bluffs and the brays would unravel the Gap’s right to secrecy.

While we were walking there was a particular passage from the book "Fairy Water" (1873), by the Irish writer Charlotte Riddell (1832- 1906), that resonated in my head. It talked about a "fairy water" and about not being obligatory to tell our dreams to the world. While walking through the mountains and the lake the pieces of the puzzle came together: an old film of the Gap I had found months before; the sentence from Riddell’s book; Mary Coughlan reading those lines. And so "Vanish Into Myth" (2023) was made, remembering the right to believe in magic, the right to dream, the right to secrecy, or, to quote Godard, the simple right to keep to ourselves a portion of indeterminacy.

AnaMary Bilbao, 2023 


“Where is fairy water you ask?

Every person has her secret and the locale of fairy water is mine.

About this time in each year I begin to dream of it,

But I am not bound to tell my dreams to all the world.”

(excerpt from "Fairy Water", 1873, by Charlotte Riddell)



Adaptation of the song “Loughnashade Lament” (2016) by John Kenny, performed with

ancient Celtic horns



Mary Coghlag



AnaMary Bilbao



Sirius Arts Centre



Miguel Amado

Mary Coghlan

Andrea Spörri

Aideen Quirke

Megan O’Driscoll

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