Missing Persons (2006)

Missing Persons (extract)

by Ailís Ní Ríain

Commissioned by Tilfeldig Productions with funds from Arts Council England for an exhibition in Wellington Mill, Ancoats, Manchester, UK in 2006. Missing Persons comprised poetry, music and photographs of the old streets of Langworthy in Salford, Northern England prior to their demolition.

Wellington Mill in central Manchester – where the work was installed – was once a cotton mill in an area considered to be the thriving industrial centre of the Industrial Revolution. They were served by the Rochdale and Ashton canals which facilitated the transport of cotton and coal throughout the north of England. The industry peaked in 1912 when it produced 8 billion yards of cloth.

“In a place populated by missing persons, we can find no past; only the loss in the solitary shapes and shadows.” – A Ní Ríain

“When we anticipate meeting in the past, my skin will be patterned with answers to questions nobody asked, and mouthfuls of reason, the blackest language.” – A Ní Ríain