Thursday, June 13, 2024
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‘Surveiller’ at Static

Earlier on Friday I had a look at the ‘Surveiller’ installation at the Static Gallery
Not your normal exhibition more an academic exercise.
“Artist Una Walker spent 128 days, approximately 1,280 hours, producing an inventory of art exhibitions in Belfast from March 1968 to March 2001. The chronology, presented on gallery walls, and as a searchable database in an office, attempts to document the length, type, title,venue and media source of every artist’s show. Surveiller is ‘just a list’, but like many things that are ‘just lists’ it creates and communicates power structures and opposes the experience of those ‘who were there at the time’ with larger and longer patterns.”
In the gallery area there is a desk with a computer you can use to search through the database for specific artists or venues. One of the walls displays the lists of the exhibitions, one panel for each year from 1968 to 2001 so you can easily see that the early 70s was a poor time for displaying art but things have improved greatly since the Anglo-Irish agreement in 1985. It may be that artists were just as active or even more so during the most troubled years but that the avenues for exhibiting were closed.
Unfortunatley there are no images of the artworks, I was wondering if the type of art/ subject matter etc. differed significantly over the years. On entry to the gallery I was given a list of the key (turning points in ‘the Troubles’) and important events over the period. This information was garnered form the CAIN (Conflict Archive in the INternet) archive.
This is a worthwhile exercise and now I’ve seen the space at Static I’m hoping they’ll be putting on more exhibtions that make good use of it.
Ends March 26th.
On March 24th 18.00-20.00 Una Walker, Lubaina Himid, Sara Selwood and Becky Shaw discuss Surveiller and the relationship between politics and culture. Booking recommended.