| The Swimming Diaries & Other |

 The Swimming Diaries (2024) 

"Ingenious" Donald Clarke, The Irish Times

"A beautiful meditation on grief and mother loss. Poetry for the senses. Resonant and deeply moving. Unexpected. 
What a beautiful and artistic way to express the spoken word. The participants were so talented in their interpretations." 
Dances With Films, Los Angeles 

Over the last year I have directed a Reel Arts Council of Ireland film which translates my memoir 'The Swimming Diaries' into an experimental and conceptual docufiction. The World premiere took place at the Dublin International Film Festival DIFF on 28 February 2024. The film is now listed on MUBI and this is an article for RTE I wrote about making the film. 

'This small book is exactly 25,000 words long. It corresponds to the 25,000 metres or strokes I swam during the month when my Mum was dying. After I had swum about 47 km I counted up all the words I had written during this difficult period. Approximately 43,000. I was amazed, as if each stroke had somehow translated into a word, excluding my rather long pushoffs. What was I trying to say? Did it really translate? Or is the swim itself perhaps impenetrable, untranslatable, in a language all of its own, one of water and muscle, energy and pain.'

Tybyra and the Harlequin (2022)

 Tybyra and the Harlequin (2022) will launch at the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, in the Cinemateca, on December 1st, 2022. A dance docufiction I have written and directed during my British council artist in residency, about rights of nature, colonialism and LGBTQ+ issues, featuring trans dance performance artist Omba Yiara, Directors of Photography Rai do Vale and Isabella Moriconi, music by Billy Kenrick, produced by Instituto MESA and supported by the British Council. 

 Still from Tybyra and the Harlequin (2022) Image by Rai do Vale and Isabella Moriconi

The Cytokine Storms (2020)

The Cytokine Storms (2020) Susan Thomson 

Pleased to announce my new film The Cytokine Storms (2020, 38 mins) You can view the full-length film here, plus an essay about the film here The Cytokine Storms Circa magazine.  A lyrical essay film, it looks at the the colonial echoes of the U.K. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, exploring colonial responses to the Irish and Indian Famines, laissez-faire economics and indifference to marginalised lives. It interweaves contemporary personal and geopolitical events. With thanks to the Arts Council for a COVID-19 Award. You can view the trailer here. The film is hosted by CIRCA and screened at Sussex University, Centre for World Environmental History CWEH on Friday 29th January 2021, along with a visiting lecture. It was also the subject of an interview on the Quarantini podcast. 

Forbidden City (2019) 

Forbidden City (2019) still image Susan Thomson

View the Trailer here

Forbidden City (2019, 35 minutes, dir. Susan Thomson) is a short experimental documentary essay, filmed in Wunsdorf, just outside Berlin, Germany. This area was used over the course of the last century, as a POW camp in the First World War, as a place for Nazi communications in the bunkers there during the Second World War, and as the so-called Forbidden City after the construction of the Berlin wall. In a poetic monologue, the narrator takes a journey back to the Soviet forbidden city as well as the fields which were formerly inhabited by prisoners of war, and features their archival voices and songs on the soundtrack, from the Lautarchiv at Humboldt University. The narrator also focuses on the Irish brigade who trained in the camp during WW1, planning an Irish uprising against the British colonial empire, and the characters of Roger Casement and his translator, Jospeh Zerhusen. Casement was consequently tried the following year for treason at the Old Bailey in London. His so-called 'Black Diaries' which detailed his homosexual encounters were circulated and used to discredit him, and he was subsequently executed. The film evokes the idea of imprisonment, both at various times over the course of the last century, and in many places now. With the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, the film has an added relevance. 

The Loophole (2011)

'Amidst the legal symbolism of the scales of Justice, the blindfold and the sword, this multivalent symbol, which is both section symbol and loophole, emerges. The loophole is a paradoxical symbol which can work differently depending on the case. In the context of Section 37, the ideologies at play within contemporary Irish society, those of progressive egalitarianism and Catholicism are visibly in tension. The loophole acts as a silencing device.'  (Read in Full Here)

Fire Practice Theatre (2009 4K HD RED 15 minutes 30)

Funded by Arts Council of Ireland New Work Award, filmed in Leixlip Fire Station, Kildare 

You can  watch the full movie  here


Fire Practice Theatre is a two screen gallery installation film, in three acts. The script changes subtly during each repeated act, tension builds, as real firefighters act alongside actors, performing a fire practice. Residing somewhere between fiction and documentary, the film shows firefighters practising their skills on a tall purpose built house in a fire station. This is depicted as if it were a piece of theatre, a rehearsal or ritual in a theatre where only one play is performed. There are different levels of fiction. A script is performed by actors playing firefighters; lines are swapped, dramatically forgotten and a scene arrives early. The fake lives which are saved in the practice represent aspects of the psyche. The dichotomy of fake and real which is invoked refers to the self or psyche as if a fake self is being sustained. The house is unlived-in, sinister, the piece reminiscent of a psyche where trauma and desire are endlessly replayed.


2011: Solo show at Broadcast gallery, Dublin 
2011: Screening at turnthelighton Festival, Dublin 
2011: Group show Digital Arts in the Gallery: New Media showcase at Catalyst Arts, Belfast
2010: Official Selection at HDFEST Film Festival, Portland, Oregon 
2010: Installation at ‘No Soul for Sale’, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern with thisisnotshop Writing Workshop 
2010: Screening at Union Docs, New York supported by Culture Ireland
2009: Solo show at thisinotashop gallery, Dublin