Dorothy HunterArtist

Belfast, UK
Looking toward both area-specific and wider transitional space, I am interested in how space and society align and interact. Through the study of spaces that range from the contentious to the politically “neutral”, my work so far has been rooted in the element of removal that accompanies inherited history.

When years slip past and negative living memory diminishes in collective consciousness, spatial information becomes less charged. Visual, factual and formal information become less immediately connotative, gradually opening its potential dialogue on both a local and international level. Yet concurrently, as the chain of past sensitive experience extends toward younger generations, certain information is seen as unknowable truth: firstly, as first hand information declines and varies, and secondly as sharing such information is feared to be detrimental to time’s progress. When time has not progressed enough for that labelled “past” to become “history”, unawareness is sometimes preferred to the potential of extending negativity.

When it is too soon to redefine space, yet future interest and engagement can be anticipated, certain contentious areas must enter a socially imposed purgatory. They must engage in a cancellation process before regeneration is possible or, indeed, a necessity; and immediate desires to destroy must be tempered for the assumed future benefits of preservation. When these spaces are inherited, they carry the atmosphere of their previous forms and uses, yet their facts deplete, interrupted by image awareness and the potential of other motives. The sensitivity with which we treat these spaces is reflective of how we see each past place in relation to the present.

As the regeneration process takes shape over time, it combines present needs, past functions, and aspirations for society’s future form. The constructive process is simultaneously destructive, and in spatial re-appropriation, the labels of space merge and influence one another.

I am particularly interested in the spaces that are seen as emblematic of collective existence - whether attributed to us or appropriated by us. We as individuals often feel removed from public space and powerless to influence it, yet space and society are in a constant symbiotic relationship.

I am also interested in the democratising process of image and object archiving, and the physical interpretation and permanence of information. I like to explore the ways in which information gains and loses as it is interpreted in different forms, and how the physical and the ephemeral can interchange.

Proposal for a Post Cell

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MDF, pine, steel As regenerative proposals have come and gone for the empty space of the former maze prison grounds, its few remaining buildings have lain inert. Much of their contents have been stored away, waiting for the day in which objects become artefacts, redefined in the building’s new context as a museum. There is often a certain amount of conflict in the treatment of remaining space. The desire to destroy and move away from negative connotations has been impeded by the knowledge of future capital as a place of touristic/historic significance. Previously a source of disputation, politicians are now praising this planned museum as a “mecca for tourists”. Yet until this spatial redefinition takes place, the building remains a closely monitored and isolated space. “Proposal for a post cell” is based upon these acts of preservation. Created using the dimensions of a former cell, this cladding profiles the cavity of the space. As a coating that can cover the walls and the furniture, it is a potential barrier. This portable skin is an abstract of the space’s “real” components, making it semi-available for public interaction.

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