Belfast Exposed Archive Commission by Michael Hanna at Lismore Castle Arts

Short Films About Learning
Michael Hanna
Lismore Castle Arts
3 June - 29 July
Preview 3 June, 4pm

We are delighted to be invited by Lismore Castle Arts to exhibit Short Films About Learning by Belfast based artist Michael Hanna. Short Films About Learning was commissioned by Belfast Exposed in 2015 as part of a series of exhibitions and events in response to our collection of community photography. 

Belfast Exposed was founded in 1983 by a group of amateur photographers who set out to depict the ongoing conflict and everyday life in the city from a local perspective. The Belfast Exposed archive contains over half a million images documenting political, cultural and social change in Northern Ireland over three decades.

Belfast Exposed’s community photography programme continues to feed into the archive, and in recent years a number of artists’ responses have been developed through the gallery including work by 2015 Turner Prize winner, Duncan Campbell (2004), Redmond Entwistle (2009) and Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin (2011). A new work by Michael Hanna entitled Short films about learning was the latest project in this series and was presented as a solo exhibition in the main gallery.

Short films about learning is a single channel video installation which juxtaposes a selection of images taken from the Belfast Exposed archive with excerpts from a lecture series entitled Introduction to Psychology by Paul Bloom, a professor at Yale University. The lectures provide a detailed overview of a scientific study of thought and behaviour. The complete series of twenty one-hour lectures is accessible through the free online learning platform Academic Earth.

Hanna’s work presents audio descriptions of psychological theories including ‘habituation’, ‘the spotlight effect’ and ‘object permanence’ – alongside images taken from the Belfast Exposed archive. Selected imagery includes street scenes, protest marches, masked gunmen and political murals. The rhythm of the speech in the accompanying soundtrack varies throughout from carefully measured statements to free flowing thoughts, with the images timed to mirror this rhythm.

Short films about learning invites the viewer to consider the images, and the subjects they represent, as a series of codes, patterns of learned behaviours and universal tendencies. The gallery has been modified to create an immersive installation, which reflects on questions of political power, agency, violence and representation and draws attention to the influence of photography, the archive and the gallery on our understanding of these ideas.

Artist biography

Michael Hanna (b.1979, Craigavon, Northern Ireland) completed his MFA at the University of Ulster in 2012 and has recently undertaken residencies at the Millennium Court Arts Centre (Portadown) and Digital Art Studios (Belfast).

Hanna has been involved in exhibitions in the UK and internationally including Rencontres Internationales at La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris and Multiplicity at NURTUREart, New York.

His work is developed from research into psychology and linguistics. Recent projects include Relearning to Speak: A scientific and cultural mapping of the mouth.

Visit Lismore Castle Arts' Website for further details

Related Images

Image © Michael Hanna

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