Back to Creating Connections last artistic experimentation: a 4-weeks workshop led by
Artists’ Moving Image Northern Ireland.
To be completely honest with you, even though I really enjoy exhibitions of all kind, I didn’t use to be fond of experimental films, usually skipping art videos in museum and gallery… Indeed, I was far from thinking that what I wrongly figured out as an abstruse and abstract practice could actually be a playful device to connect, engage and inspire people.
In late November, Jacqueline Holt and Michael Hanna, founder artists of Artists’ Moving Image Northern Ireland (also shortly called AMINI)*, came for the first time to Creating Connections weekly group.
Very gently, they unfolded what is hidden behind the hazy outlines of this contemporary filmmaking practice, unveiling its creative and playful possibilities. As an eclectic experimental genre, Artist Moving Image uses indeed different processes and medium ranging from archive to animation and in-situ installation. Jacquie and Michael offered us a perfect glimpse of this practice’s inventiveness through their personal works presentation: while Jacquie develops a personal demarche using herself as a site, Michael has worked in particular on editing and juxtaposition of archives images to create a strong cinematic language.
The following weeks, AMINI put Creating Connections group into the creative process. While participants were asked to bring a personal picture or object, Jacquie and Michael came with all their recording materials: cameras, green screen and reflector stand. With the personal item as a starting point, Jacquie and Michael initiated and led individual interviews, inviting each participant to skim through his/her memories. What is your favourite TV show? Your best holidays? Your favourite song? Favourite place in Belfast? The chatterboxes, the crooners, the mimes… each one in his own way unfolded memories and thoughts, unleashing a part of their personalities.
Then Michael presented one of his ongoing project: a participatory in-situ installation called Windows. With the complicity of Basque choreographer Asier Zabaleta, Michael created and experimented Windows in different European cities. The concept is simple and playful: inhabitants of a town are asked to use Green or Red coloured lights to answer to yes-or-no questions on both personal and political issues. Do you feel represented by politicians? Is there life after death? Are you happy? Have you answered all of these questions honestly? This time it’s Creating Connections’ turn to reflect on the questions they are curious about: Do you like Christmas? Have you ever stolen in a shop? Have you ever had problems with Translink? A few weeks later, we came back to our recorded questions, joyfully putting our creative work in motion: we experimented our participative installation in the Black Box, answering and standing in red or green coloured light beam
Once again, this responsive and intimate creative experimentation made all sense of our Art Outreach workshop’s name: Creating Connections between an art niche and an aging audience apparently facing barriers to the art world.
* AMINI is an artist led initiative for the promotion and critical discussion of artists’ moving image in Northern Ireland.