LANDMARKS (55° 0' 0'' North)2010
LANDMARKS was a participatory cross-border art project which explored the cultural and social complexities of place. The project sought to evoke the memories, lived experiences and current realities of communities living in evolving, post–conflict societies. Landmarks sought to engender new international connections through a residency programme which connected local experience of the border region to experiences of displacement and conflict in post-apartheid South Africa. Working with artist Rod Sauls from District Six in Cape Town, project participants created work in photography and film. The residency programme also engaged Dublin-based Vagabond Reviews and Photographer Paola Bernadelli. These workshops employed a range of media and documentary strategies including photography, archival research and participation in film production. Over thirty participants took part in Landmarks including local women and community development leaders.
Landmarks presented work in photography and film which drew on a number of local sites of displacement including the decommissioned Lough Swilly railway line, which until 1953 connected Donegal and Derry. Archival footage from District Six in the 1960s, prior to the displacement of its residents and the demolition of their homes, also features. Landmarks culminated in a site specific exhibition and screening of a filmwork entitled Low Intensity. The film features a conversation between artist Rod Sauls, Derry participant Bernadette Mahon and Donegal based John Coyle about everyday life experiences in conflict situations set against contemporary urban Derry.
Low Intensity was screened at the former Stables Block at Ebrington Barracks in October 2010. Ebrington Barracks is located on the East Bank of the River Foyle, in Derry. The barracks was built in 1841 within its own defensive wall and used as a naval and military base until recent times. The exhibition of this work at Ebrington was timely in that the barracks is a key site for development in relation to the City of Culture programme for 2013. The project was developed through the International Cultural Arts Network programme, which was a collaboration between North-55 and the Playhouse (Derry) in 2010. The Landmarks project was developed through the first international residency programme. The work was further contextualised through an international conference which assembled and drew on local, national and international contributors to consider how collaborative and contemporary visual art and culture impact upon conflict zones and the social, political and economic changes that evolve from this type of work. Conference contributors included Mary Jane Jacob (Curator), Bonita Bennett (Director, District Six Museum), Orla Moloney (Head of Arts Participation, Arts Council of Ireland), Caoimhín Corrigan, (Cultural Broker Ilex), Peter Jenkinson, (Adviser Ilex), Inez McCormack, (Participation and the Practice of Rights Project), and Janna Graham, (Serpentine Gallery).
COLLABORATORS: Rod Sauls, Bonita Bennett, District Six Museum, Mark Abrahams (Cape Town), Inishowen Development Partnership, Immigrant Outreach Project (IDP), Second-Chance-Education Programme, Vagabond Reviews, Ilex/Ebrington Barracks, The Playhouse, Paola Bernadelli, Elisabeth Zeindlinger.