Where History Begins Again

ALAN PHELAN TALKS TO MARY CREMIN ABOUT HER NEW ROLE AS DIRECTOR OF VOID, DERRY.

Odd as it sounds, there is something slightly Scandinavian about Derry. Maybe it’s post-conflict Northern Ireland and the almost socialist democratic prosperity that peace has brought to the region. Industry may not have taken off just yet, but public services appear to be well-funded. The abundance of cultural centres is also mirrored by a bemusing abundance of hair salons – something that is comparable with Helsinki. Perhaps the harsh northerly climate brings with it serious approaches to both art and hair care. Derry’s various galleries inhabit historic spaces, yet have a very contemporary outlook that draws big names to this small city. I recently visited Mary Cremin, the newly appointed director of Void, to discuss her new role and her future ambitions for the gallery. Continue reading “Where History Begins Again”

Mind-Controlling Images

MATT PACKER AND ALISSA KLEIST DISCUSS ‘SCISSORS CUT PAPER WRAP STONE’, A TOURING EXHIBITION BY CCA DERRY-LONDONDERRY.

LIKE many curators (and indeed, artists) we often develop ideas by thinking through references or historical incidences that have little to do with contemporary art from the outset. ‘Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone’ is a case in point: an exhibition that developed from our discovery of a science fiction novel written in 1994 by author Ian McDonald. The novel led us to understand a rich history of sci-fi produced in Northern Ireland, of which Ian McDonald is a part. He is one in a long line of authors dating back to the late nineteenth century that obviously coincided with considerable political, industrial and cultural change over the intervening years. Given the region’s difficult past (and equally uncertain future), it makes sense that a history of science fiction literature exists in Northern Ireland. With its characteristic conjuring of alternative worlds, new life-forms and imaginative re-workings of everyday life, science fiction might be described as an act of ‘cognitive estrangement’ that allows us to re-approach the conditions of our society.

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The Saw Tooth Wave/Put to the Sword

Benedict Drew/Miguel Martin, CCA Derry-Londonderry, 15 October – 11 December

I recently took a ‘How Millennial Are You?’ personality quiz while I should have been searching for a job, if you can digest the irony. “You are asleep. Where’s your phone?” was one memorable question. There could only be one answer: “On the pillow next to me”.

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