to the wire

to the wire

Date: 02/05/2024 18:00

Belfast Exposed 2nd-31st of May 2024

There will be an artist talk this Wednesday 8th May at 6pm followed by a special screening.  

The second of a three-part, three-year series of NIMHAF residencies this year has travelled to meet the artists and organisations of Beirut, Lebanon.

A conflict journalist retraces old steps through the cities of Belfast and Beirut. They haunt former hotels, invoke old rituals and begin to piece together missing memories. As those landscapes open up we watch the colours of two histories bleed together. Buried traumas peer through surfaces and the reporter rediscovers a strange machine that threatens to unearth them completely.

to the wire mixes footage from NI Screen’s Digital Film Archive with original material captured in Northern Ireland and Lebanon in August / September 2023. It is the second part of the All Flesh is Grass trilogy.

to the wire continues an exploration into what the mind can tell us about stories and what  stories can tell us about the mind, focusing particularly on how landscape and ritual can shape both.

Drawing inspiration from the histories of the Europa in Belfast and the Commodore in Beirut, two hotels which acted as homes to the international press - to the wire reflects on the ways in which events are relayed to us and how the stories we are told become the histories we share and dispute.

Taking direction from improvisation techniques, Industrial music of the late 1970s and ‘80s, and the artists’ deep fascinations of how the occult could be explored through experimental instruments, this piece asks just how confrontational we should be when revisiting trauma; and whether some methods might leave us with echoes we do not wish to hear; leaving us open to forces greater than we are ready to reckon with.

Shortly after capturing the original footage, during the NIMHAF residency in Lebanon in August and September 2023, the living reality of that country and the people we met rapidly changed, with numerous journalists being killed in Southern Lebanon and communities of civilians displaced; the relevance of to the wire’s fictional history shifted. Selections of audio recorded in conversations with artists and arts organisations in Beirut have been overlaid, tying the piece’s slippery grasp of time to a real moment and to recognising the privilege of the safety we now inhabit.

By Dawn Richardson; Jonathan Brennan; Chad Alexander; Emily DeDakis; Barry Cullen; Paul Doran to the wire is a co-production of Hosta Projects and NIMHAF. Supported by the Baring Foundation, Northern Ireland Screen's Digital Film Archive, Belfast Film Festival, Belfast Exposed and Film Hub NI allocating funds on behalf of BFI.

Location: Bean Bag Cinema, Ground floor

Belfast Exposed Photography
23 Donegall Street
Belfast BT1 2FF

Gallery opening hours: 11am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday.