Commissions + Articles

Nickie Hayden: Settling the Past @ The LAB

An essay, nine notes on poetry & prostheses, was commissioned by Sue Rainsford to accompany the Nickie Hayden’s Settling The Past at The Lab, Dublin, which ran from January-March 2018.

Read an excerpt below:


When it first came into use over 5000 years ago, an abacus was a slab strewn with sand.

Once a disposable item, it has since evolved into the set object we recognise: instead of stone and sand in which marks are made, an abacus now consists of wires or grooves along which beads are slid.


Over 5000 years, its materials have developed and its properties migrated so that, while its form and fabric have altered, its function has endured: it allows the user calculate, and keeps tactile witness to her progress.

The haphazard growth of creeping plants in subtropical rainforests sometimes results in swing-like formations, and a piece of rope strung across even a moderate height can be swung upon once its ends are weighted down.

Sue Rainsford