“THE FIRST EXPERIMENTAL CITY
(BELFAST)” takes the text from Ivan Chtcheglov’s Situationist
pamphlet Formulary for a New Urbanism (1953) and combines it with
a distorted and speeded-up journey across the city.
Belfast today boasts many of what
called “magical locales” that deserve to be explored.
This film is a journey, moving through the city from Donegall Street
to the empty and mysterious wasteland of Queen’s Island, and
into the secret “magical locale” of the former Harland
& Wolff Drawing Rooms.
In my “experimental city (Belfast)”,
these drawing rooms would be the locus for “avant-garde activities
and productions.” (Chtcheglov)
Rediscovering the city as urban
playground and dispelling the anomie of urban life is one of the
tasks and responsibilities of the contemporary urban artist, to
involve and invoke the relationship between the citizens and their
The deep role of time and change as the basic subject matter for
all of my work is part of what I call the condition “post-industrial
art.” Art made in the wastelands of urban dereliction, in
the consciousness of the post-industrial state we live in, where
old structures that bound social existence, such as factories, hospitals,
lidos and schools have been abandoned to new ideologies.
As an artist I am compelled by the notion of the “reintegration
of fragments” or what Anselm Kiefer has described as “bringing
together what has come apart.” I see my interest in site-response
as part of a larger picture, in which art grapples with notions
of fragmentation and time.
I am interested in revealing images which are very strong; that
offer a glimpse of past worlds and indistinct realities; where the
boundaries between fiction and documentary blur, and memories take
on a life of their own.
Gillian McIver is a UK based Canadian artist. She works in video
and installation, and is a founding member of the Luna Nera group
of site-responsive artists.