The interactive art installation Disappearing Wall was set up across Europe between autumn 2020 and spring 2021. Built from 6,000 wooden blocks inscribed with quotes from European high and pop culture, the walls represented the diversity of the continent. Set up in Belfast and 15 other European cities, the pan-European project travelled through overall 10 countries, celebrating the European identity with all its facets of languages and ideas.
Visitors of the Disappearing Wall were invited to remove the blocks inscribed with their favourite quotes from the installations and take them home. As more and more blocks were being removed, the walls gradually "disappeared". A project full of symbolism!
Whether a quote from Hannah Arendt, a lyric from a Beatles song, a line from the film Amélie, or a statement by the Hungarian Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész: the quotes by intellectuals, artists and cultural practitioners collected across Europe in early 2020 illustrated the diversity of ideas and languages in Europe.
Based on an idea proposed by Maria Jablonina in a workshop carried out by the architect and engineer Werner Sobek, the installation was first initiated by the Goethe-Institut.
In Belfast the Disappearing Wall was installed on the Titanic Slipways from 21 October until 6 November 2020, inviting everyone from Belfast and beyond to get outside and engage with this public art installation. Commissioned by the Goethe-Institut London, the installation was implemented in collaboration with Belfast-based Catalyst Arts and Urban Scale Interventions. The project was accompanied by four workshops with local artists engaging in different areas of the city and celebrating the diversity of Belfast through stories, shared experiences and collective history.
Workshop Series: Collectivity, Community and Diversity
Looking at possibilities of re-mapping Belfast beyond geography, Catalyst Arts developed and presented a series of engagement workshops inviting Belfastonians to share their lived experiences of Belfast. Four workshops held by professional artists in the Catalyst Arts Gallery and various spaces across the city encouraged participants to think creatively and engage with their surroundings. Throughout the event series every workshop complied with Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings.
Workshop Series "Disappearing Wall" Belfast "Ealaín means Art" – Aoife O’Reilly
The workshop introduced a less conventional, more artistic approach to Irish language learning. The video from 19 September 2020 shows how participants got to know the Irish languague through movement, crafting and music.
Workshop Series "Disappearing Wall" Belfast "Tales of Embodiment" – Janie Doherty
In this exhibition project and workshop lead by artist Janie Doherty at Catalyst Art Gallery on 1st October 2020, a group of women from New Lodge Estate explored the narrative of the body. Together with workshop participants they filled the gallery space with stories, singing and many rounds of Bingo.
Workshop Series "Disappearing Wall" Belfast "Listen to My Ears" – John D’Arcy
Participants explored their own hearing through listening and sound-making activities in this workshop lead by John D’Arcy. The video recorded on 3rd October 2020 shows how sounds of bodies, objects and cities and the lack thereof, were explored within the Gallery space and the city of Belfast.
Workshop Series "Disappearing Wall" Belfast "Jaunt" – Phillip McCrilly
A queer reading of Belfast’s history and an alternative mapping of South Belfast was offered by artist Phillip McCrilly in their fermentation & foraging workshop on 6th October 2020. The video shows how workshop participants cruise around the city on bike, exploring unknown and unnoticed corners of Belfasts South.
Catalyst Arts (CA) is an artist-led organisation based in Belfast. Established in 1993 it has built a reputation as an innovative and experimental space for contemporary art, through its gallery programme, public projects, artists commissions and pioneering Live Art Biennale. The organisation has consistently attracted high calibre artists, curators and producers from across NI and internationally. Their mission is to promote the production of works by emerging, mid-career and established artists through the provision of resources, exhibitions, residencies, and events. In addition, they aim to advance the training of cultural practitioners in NI through critical dialogue and mentoring within our programme.
Urban Scale Interventions (USI)
USI support public and private organisations in people centred design innovation taking a holistic and challenge-led approach to tackling issues in the places we live, work and play.