Absorbing Modernity 1914 - 2014
Series of events and exhibitions.
October - November 2014
Locations across Belfast
British Council, Belfast Exposed, Forum for Alternative Belfast, Queen’s Film Theatre, Queen’s University, the University of Ulster, and the Ulster Museum.
Commissioned Text by Ricki O’Rawe / Absorbing Modernity Booklet
Absorbing Modernity was a series of events and exhibitions looking at the history of architecture with specific reference to the impact of modernity in Northern Ireland over the course of the past century. It was supported by British Council to complement the theme of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, and ran as part of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queens.
As part of this event, PLACE drew on ongoing work to explore the New Town of Craigavon through an exhibition, architectural bus tour, film screening and panel discussion.
Craigavon New Town | 50 Years of Modernity
Golden Thread Gallery
24 October - 2 November 2014
This exhibition, featuring new and archival photography by Victor Sloan alongside selected historical materials documenting the founding of Craigavon, tells the often-strange story of the modernist city that rose out of the Northern Irish countryside. Drawings, plans and strategies for the Brownlow development tie in with the work of Geoffrey Copcutt and modernist housing design such as Cumbernauld in Scotland and Thamesmead in London made infamous in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. The opposition of Sloan’s uneasy imagery of life in a new city with the idealist, utopian visual culture of 1960s town planning, tells the story of a place in which quotidian normality is layered on top of the absurdity of the project’s unrealised ambition. The exhibition included specially commissioned writing by Ricki O'Rawe.
Architectural Bus Tour
Free bus tour of Craigavon
1 November 2014
This bus tour visited landmarks of Craigavon's turbulent and fascinating history, including its manmade lakes, modernist buildings, leisure facilities and residential developments.
Film Screening and Panel Discussion
‘The Lost City of Craigavon’ Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Saturday 25 October 2014
A screening of the 2007 BBC documentary, The Lost City of Craigavon, in which Portadown native and satirist Newton Emerson revisits the city to uncover its speckled history, followed by a discussion by panelists William J Cairns (former Chief Landscape Architect at Craigavon Development Commission), Dr Taina Rikala (Senior Lecturer in Urban Design, Ulster University), Victor Sloan (Fine Artist) and Michael Corr (Creative Director at PLACE).
Thanks to: British Council, Golden Thread Gallery, Craigavon Borough Council Museum Services, FE McWilliam Studio and Gallery, Ulster Museum.