“Archives determine how we experience the present more than they represent any past. Can we conceive of the museum, as an archival place, differently? Can we create other means to encounter the physical space of the museum and the sense of time that it conjures up?”
Whilst in post as Co-director of the Belfast contemporary arts organisation Catalyst Arts I devised a project aimed at audiences interested in the historical fabric of the city and its contemporary culture. For the exhibition and accompanying public programme, I initiated a collaboration with the Ulster Museum, part of the National Museum of Northern Ireland. From the 19th March to the 10th of April 2004, 12 artists presented newly commissioned works that responded to the museum’s collections, galleries, incidental spaces and environs. A second exhibition was held in Catalyst Arts gallery, in tandem with the museum programme. A symposium brought together museum curators, commissioned artists, and invited speakers from the fields of anthropology, archiving, the arts and urban planning. By creating new relationships between the historical and the contemporary, the artworks sought to question the terms on which histories are written, and reimagine the visions of the present and future that such histories shape.