October 14, 2018 - 14-18 NOW - Suzanne Lacy: Across and In-Between
October 14, 2018

14-18 NOW

© Helen Sloan.

Suzanne Lacy
Across and In-Between
Part of 14-18 NOW, the UK's arts programme for the First World War centenary
October 18–23, 2018

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“The border is not in the land, it is a state of mind,” is a refrain by those who live along the mostly invisible boundary between Ireland and Northern Ireland. With the UK Brexit vote in 2016, that border is once again in the news, as it was during its formation in the years between 1918 and 1921. The partition of Ireland was not fully legislated until 1921, but it was fomented in the rich soil of identity politics years before. With Trumpian nationalism now roiling the United States and the Brexit vote bringing new controversy to the Irish border, the pioneering American visual artist Suzanne Lacy launches one of her most ambitious works to date, created in collaboration with communities in Ireland from both sides of the border.

Across and In-Between explores the profound impact the border has on the lives of people who live there. In a globalized world, how will Brexit change their relationship to land and identity? The project draws those who live there into a conversation—metaphoric and literal—on personal and symbolic meanings of this border and by extension all such borders drawn by political forces. It explores inverse paradigms: visible and invisible, official and unofficial, rural and urban, colloquial and formal, the real border and the imagined ones. Both playful and filled with visual drama, this work poses questions that aim to cast a fresh light on the events that led to the establishment of the border and on the dilemma arising from Brexit which will leave the border as the only land-based frontier between the UK and Europe.

For the past year Lacy engaged local residents in cross-border locations to co-construct “happenings” that raise unexpected perspectives and add to the lively international debate: 100 years later, how are borders being drawn and where is the voice of “border people” in this conversation? Held at the time of the upcoming October EU Summit, on October 18th the work premiers with an installation of films and sound on the front of the Ulster Museum in Belfast.

On October 20th the work is expanded with a performative event at Northern Ireland’s Parliament Buildings in Stormont, bringing together scores of people from the borderlands whose lives will be dramatically impacted by Brexit negotiations. In the spirit of the historic Belfast Agreement of 1998, participants will craft a Yellow Paper to be released to the public at the end of the exhibition.

Watch the trailer for Across and In-Between here. 

Co-created with Cian Smyth, Helen Sharp, Mark Thomas of Soup Co, Pedro Rebelo, Conan McIvor, Helen Sloan, Eva Grosman, Garrett Carr and people in Pettigo, Tullyhommon, Castlesaunderson, Magheraveely, Newtownbutler, Cuilcagh Mountain across Counties Fermanagh, Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal.

Across and In-Between has been co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and Belfast International Arts Festival, with the support of the Government of Ireland’s Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Reconciliation Fund).

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