Exhibition-Animist – Jonathan Brennan
Mar 7 @ 6:00 pm – Mar 31 @ 6:00 pm

Holding a discarded object in a junk shop, exploring its contours, feeling the patina it has acquired over time and use, one feels that the object could tell a story. Imagining that story is fanciful, yet tempting and inevitable.
In an increasingly digital world, we crave the ‘real’ or ‘analogue’: wooden floors, vinyl records, purposely-misaligned print registration, photo apps that imitate light leaks and vignetting… Simultaneously, the love of imperfection and transience, whether through the notions of wabi sabi or Kintsugi, or their superficial borrowing in the West – through current trends like ‘upcycling’ and ‘shabby chic’ – has become ubiquitous. Such is the extent that it has become a desirable look: furniture and other objects in our daily lives are ‘distressed’ with fake patina in an attempt to imply some kind of back story.
The works in this show stem from an urge to commemorate the real, to celebrate the sometimes innocuous objects that can carry so many personal stories and memories within them, as if they had lives, souls or at least some form of spiritual essence of their own – a belief known as Animism, which is still practised in certain cultures today. The objects depicted in these works are of personal significance to the artist. The most personal can be the most universal.

Animist is a collection of 40 works, mostly consisting of acrylic paintings on board by Belfast-based artist Jonathan Brennan. The number of works corresponds to the number of years the artist reached in 2018. Each object is painted using three primary colours (cyan, magenta and yellow) and black and white, mostly in a single sitting. Some of the pieces include collage, linocut, screenprint and cyanotype. The subject matter covers both natural and manmade objects.: from rhubarb, plums and oranges to ornaments, souvenirs and items of clothing. Most works are painted from life from a similar viewpoint – some are painted from memory, where real life examples can no longer be found.
Each object is painted on a black background. Extraneous detail is removed, thereby presenting the object centre stage to the viewer and lending it a heightened sense of presence. This isolation of the object in this way probably is influenced by Spanish 17th century still lifes by Sanchez Cotán and Zurbarán.

The black hole that future historians will encounter when endeavouring to document our age will be a significant obstacle: photos that are never printed, digital correspondence in deleted email accounts, entire lives stored on hard drives that will eventually perish, many within our lifetimes. When the living cease to live, what is left behind? Objects and memories. In Beckett’s short play Breath a life is reduced to 25 seconds, the vagitus cry of birth followed by a single inhalation and exhalation over a stage ‘littered with miscellaneous rubbish’. Among that rubbish there will be pieces worth retrieving, worth holding; objects imbued with life.

Mar 21 @ 7:00 pm
Skull @ The Green Room

Escape the relentless agora in a night of recorded music and live drawing. DJs Jeff Doherty and Stuart Watson develop an aural envelope each evening, whilst illustrator Duncan Ross strives to capture the consciousness of the moment through the inky medium of illustration. Adventurous clientèle may submit suggestions to Ross for realisation on the eve or, if feeling particularly exploratory, can contribute with the fruits of their own ductus (materials provided).

The Green Room Sessions
Mar 22 @ 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm

The Green Room Sessions

Fridays 7-11pm


Low lit, down-tempo DJ evenings in The Green Room where you can enjoy a continuous stream of well-curated music.

In sounds from around the globe, representing what is musically innovative and intriguing be it; Afrobeat, New Wave, Bosa Nova, Ambient House, Hip-Hop, Spiritual Jazz, Disco, Post Punk, Electronica, Soul, Kosmische Music.

The Green Room Sessions are an opportunity to catch one-off performances from guest artists as well as regular slots from an esteemed cast of local selectors.

Spring baby flea
Mar 24 @ 10:00 am

A chance to buy all sorts of baby/child bargains from toys and books to buggies and shoes. Great clothes and also local classes and general yummy treats! Bring the whole family, great music and a relaxed environment for all to enjoy.. free entry.

Imagine Festival: the living book library
Mar 27 @ 1:00 pm
Imagine Festival: the living book library @ The Black Box

The living library allows you to borrow a person instead of reading a book, you sit with a person / living book for a one-to-one 20 minute conversation.

We have 13 living books /people for you to choose from, giving you the chance to have a one-to-one conversation with someone you might never have had the opportunity to speak to. Select the book / books you are interested in on the city council website, then contact them who will give you a timeslot between 1 and 4pm and provide you will more details on the event.

This is what past participants have said about the event:

“I was blown away by the living library, I borrowed two human books and the experience totally opened my eyes about people who have come here as asylum seekers and people who are from a very different community background to me… It was incredible to hear their stories and have my own perceptions questioned.”

“Being able to sit down with someone from a different background and community and listen to their story was something special. I sat with a person I would normally have no contact with and very limited understanding of their point of view. It gave me something to think about.”

Age 18+.

IMAGINE FESTIVAL: Ideas into movement
Mar 27 @ 6:00 pm

Green Room, The Black Box, Hill Street
27th March: 6.00pm – 9.00pm (doors 5.30pm)
Presented by The Transnational Institute.

The Transnational Institute (TNI) is an international research and advocacy institute based in Amsterdam. For more than 40 years, TNI has served as a unique nexus between social movements, engaged scholars and policy makers.

TNI envisions a world of peace, equity and democracy on a sustainable planet brought about and sustained by an informed and engaged citizenry.

Showcasing the importance of working between social movements engaged scholars, policy makers, artists and activists. TNI is proud to host a few hours of short presentations, friendly discussion, meet and greets with short videos, music and informal conversation at the Imagine! Festival.

Come along and meet some of the leaders of our programmes and check out examples of Transformative cities, alternative security, remunicipalisation of public alternatives, social inclusion and rethinking shrinking space and more.

Copies of our books and publications with also be available or you can check out our work at www.tni.org

Music by Chris Kelly.

Mar 27 @ 7:30 pm
Goin’ Online- Second Episode
Mar 28 @ 7:00 pm

A new monthly night in the Green Room celebrating the weird and wonderful things about the internet.
Join us for our SECOND episode showcasing relaxing and visually pleasing videos to unwind with. Expect satisfying slime, soap cutting and other strange yet wonderful fulfilling videos for the ultimate chill out.
Free entry!’

Imagine Festival:the irish language is not a weapon but an invaluable tool for unity
Mar 29 @ 3:00 pm
Imagine Festival:the irish language is not a weapon but an invaluable tool for unity @ The Green Room

The Black Box Green Room, Hill Street
29th March: 3.00pm – 4.00pm (doors 2.30pm)
Never more popular, there are more children in Irish medium education and more Irish language organisations than at any other time in recent history. The Irish language has also, never been more contentious.

Presented by Bríd Ó Gallchoir, who is artistic director of the Irish language theatre company, Aisling Ghéar, and Linda Ervine, founder and director of Turas, where she runs over 15 Irish language and cultural classes. Turas is based at the East Belfast Mission on the Newtownards Road. They believe that the Irish language can be a force for unity in our society and will put this case at the event. They will also be presenting a short sketch, performed by professional actors, which will help to illustrate and enliven their case. They are both looking forward to a lively Q&A after their presentation.

Age 18+.

Contact us

The Black Box & Green Room Café
18-22 Hill Street | Belfast | BT1 2LA

Tel: +44 (0) 2890 244400

Registered Charity No: NIC100983

Supported by

Belfast City Council ACNI & Lotto John Hewitt Department for Communities Black Bush BFI Cinema SurveyApp