Thursday 08 September 6-8pm

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About learning and other journeys

Artist films from Northern Ireland

Simon Aeppli, Michael Hanna, Jacqueline Holt, Paul Moore

Ends 17 September 2022

About learning and other journeys shows a selection of films by four artist filmmakers, Simon Aeppli, Michael Hanna, Jacqueline Holt and Paul Moore, whose work is centred in Northern Ireland.
Although all different in their practice, they share a sense of exploration, not just in a geographical sense through journeys to their close environment, landscapes, towns or archives, but they also reveal a deep interest in understanding the social landscape, the rituals and manners of people.
The short films present a kaleidoscopic view and interpretation of past and present social histories in Northern Ireland, layers of stories of personal lives and political realities. In their individual positions and artistic approach, the films give a portrait of the region and its citizens in a highly reflective, questioning manner.

This project coincides with the  annual symposium of the Freelands Artist Programme here in Belfast. Beyond its aesthetic value, it serves as good orientation, how artists see, interpret and change Northern Ireland and its society in their work.

Films/Videos on display

Simon Aeppli

Simon Aeppli- EDEN

Eden- 15min, 2004

Eden, in Northern Ireland, shares few of the qualities of its namesake. It exists around the perimeter fence of one of Ireland's largest power stations. This portrait of my hometown forms the basis of a video that explores a run down half forgotten place. Focusing on Eden's residents, the work reveals a place filled with eccentricity, humour and beauty.

In case I disappear- 3min, 2008

The starting point for 'In Case I Disappear' was my hometown of Eden, Northern Ireland. It is a film about the memory of a place, a kind of visual and audio journal where atmosphere replaces narrative, conclusions and logic. I worked with the idea that the objects have hidden histories and meaning and are somehow charged with the past. I have used souvenirs from childhood, family photographs, maps, location shots and other ephemera that are edited together to recreate the political, historical and personal landscape of my hometown. The soundtrack is a mixture of manipulated sounds and field recordings from Eden that thread the film together, creating textures and layers as well as the momentum for the film.

Michael Hanna-  Short  Films about Learning, 8min 57sec, 2014

Michael Hanna: Short Films about Learning

A commission by Belfast Exposed Photography, 2015.  Thanks to the original Belfast Exposed Photographers Mervyn Smyth, Sean  McKernan, Gerry Casey, Seamus Loughran and all other contributing  photographers. Copyright of the original archive material remains with  these photographers and with Belfast Exposed. Thanks to Professor Paul Bloom, Yale University.
Short Films about Learning is funded by Arts Council Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and the Department for Social Development.

The Belfast Exposed community photography archive contains over half a million images produced by community groups, amateur and professional photographers over the past 30 years. It represents a valuable historical document recording political, cultural and social change in Northern Ireland over these 3 decades.

Short Films about Learning juxtaposes a selection of these images with excerpts from the lecture series Introduction to Psychology by Paul Bloom, a professor at Yale University. Spoken descriptions of the theories of habituation, the spotlight effect and object permanence are presented alongside images of street scenes, protest marches, masked gunmen and political murals. The rhythm of the speech in the accompanying soundtrack varies throughout from carefully measured statements to free flowing thoughts, with the images timed to mirror this rhythm.

Short Films about Learning invites the viewer to consider the images, and the subjects they represent, as a series of codes, patterns of learned behaviours and universal tendencies. It reflects on questions of political power, agency, violence and representation and draws attention to the influence of photography, the archive and the gallery on our understanding of these ideas.

Jacqueline Holt- Landscape Terrace, 13min 30sec, 2020

Jacqueline Holt- Landscape Terrace

'Landscape Terrace is a street in Belfast. The name struck me for its mirroring of the landscape/portrait aspects and a sort of short form encapsulation of how we live. I had been having the feeling that the precious moments of life always seem to happen off-screen, outside the frame. In an effort to capture these peripheral and fleeting moments; those moments that escape the direct focus of intended production, this film is structured from a series of 10 sec videos taken over a period of one and a half years.'

Text- Jacqueline Holt

Paul Moore-  Nonarnia, 11mins 4 secs, 2017

Paul Moore- Unsettlement opening night performance video still, Belfast 2017: Wardrobe, pushing action, public, colour. Vimeo link : NONARNIA

NONARNIA is a publicly engaged site specific work. The performances investigate how our individual and local identity is affected by global financial and political landscapes. It poses questions on how these institutional modes and attitudes to space, culture and the body apply to our own locality and sense of place.
The work draws awareness to local and individual identity and its history within the urban environment which has been politically and religiously oppressed throughout its history. East Belfast is now undergoing a process of gentrification in public spaces based on local icons such as the development of C.S Lewis Square, and using themes from the Narnia Chronicles they echo and subvert the political and religious rhetoric of the area.

About the artists

Simon Aeppli  was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and makes subjective documentary work that explores marginal and overlooked histories from his homeland’s troubled past. These films have been screened at festivals and galleries in Britain and abroad and broadcast in the UK on CH4, FIVE and ITV London. Recently, Simon received an AHRC technē scholarship for part-time PhD study at the University of Brighton for a project called The Folk Horror Landscape of 1970s Northern Ireland. He is also a part-time senior lecturer in BA Film Production at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham

Michael Hanna
is an artist based in Northern Ireland. His recent work has taken the form of social and sensory experiments with himself as the subject. His research centres around ideas of utopia, error, and how to live.

Exhibitions include the Chennai Photo Biennale (2021), Crawford Art Gallery, Cork (2022), Freelands Foundation, London (2021) and The MAC, Belfast (2020). Solo exhibitions include Short Films about Learning at Lismore Castle Arts, Waterford (2017), and Looking Backward at PS², Belfast (2019). He has recently completed a residency at Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris (2021), and the Freelands Artist Programme (2019-21), a 2-year fellowship with PS², Belfast and Freelands Foundation, London.

Michael is a co-founder of AMINI, an artist led initiative for the promotion and critical discussion of artists’ moving image in Northern Ireland.

Jacqueline Holt is a recipient of a Jerwood Bursary 2020. Her recent exhibition 'This Moment of Being' at PS², Belfast was the culmination of her  ACES Award, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and in partnership with LUX. Having originally worked at LUX, she moved to Belfast in 2010 to re-position herself and focus on her art practice. She graduated from the Belfast School of Art MFA in 2012. In 2015 she co-founded the organisation AMINI, which supports artists working in moving image through screenings and discussions. She has exhibited in Belfast, London, Nice and Dublin.  Other projects include a commission for DORIS, a Soft Fiction publication on film and artists' moving image culture, and The Last Soirée of the Belgium Embassy Annex, N16, an exhibition curated by the artist Gerry Smith. Jacqueline has a studio at Flax in Belfast.

Paul Moore is an interdisciplinary artist currently based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. After graduating with an MA in Art Research and Collaboration from Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, he moved on to have successful exhibitions both locally and internationally. Paul Moore works in sonic/electronic (audio/visual) installation and performance. He operates within the field; gathering bodies of ephemeral and ambient sounds and images, particularly whilst in motion.
Throughout his art practice he explores ideas of the journey - both to and from nations, across borders and through technology in order to be present elsewhere.
Another theme in his work is this of motion: the push-pull of physical and immaterial boundaries; exertion, labour and effort.
Selected shows include:  FIonnghlas, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast (2021) A Consideration Of All Bodies, Lab Gallery, Dublin (2021) TILT [AT WINDMILLS], CCA Derry, (2021) Unsettlement, Platform Arts Gallery, Belfast (2017) Statəcraft, Irish Museum of Modern Art Project Space, Dublin (2016), lorem ipsum, Atypical Gallery Belfast (2015) and Palace Revolution, Galveston Arts Centre, Texas U.S.A. (2014).