Launches: Saturday 22 June 2024, 6-8pm

Void Art Centre is delighted to announce ‘Nyctalopia’, an exhibition by Adrián Balseca.


Adrián Balseca’s ‘Nyctalopia,’ his debut solo exhibition in Northern Ireland, is a commissioned research project at Void Art Centre in Derry. This two-part multimedia installation critically examines the impacts of car culture by offering alternative perspectives on the ongoing ecological crisis. “Nyctalopia,” or “night blindness,” symbolizes a collective condition in post-neoliberal economies, characterized by an inability to clearly perceive the current environmental crisis.


The exhibition showcases a series of modified optical devices that reveal an uncanny visual perception of the present. By juxtaposing ancient obsidian glass with iconic mid-20th-century car wing mirrors —both found in Northern Ireland— Balseca creates dark reflective tools that enable the public to revisit geological and material history, serving as a powerful reminder of the silent violence afflicting our environment. These optical devices challenge our visual perception, transforming common views into darker reflections on human mobility based on fossil fuels and carbon-based industries, which have displaced collective mobility systems in Northern Ireland and reshaped the land. 


This installation underscores the necessity for humanity to reconsider imposed narratives of infinite economic growth and to address fundamental philosophical questions about coexistence and abandonment. The concepts of “distance” and “time” in car wing mirrors are depicted as defense mechanisms that shield humanity from the immediacy and precariousness of global pollution and degradation. How has automobile culture shaped our environment? Employing a diverse array of mediums—including film, sound, archives, and sculpture—the project merges cultural artifacts, from photographic archives to automobile accessories, to embody a somber reflection on the power of these economic forces.


“Ecological reality requires an awareness that at first has the characteristics of tragic melancholy and negativity, concerning inextricable coexistence with a host of entities that surround and penetrate us, but which evolves paradoxically into an anarchic, comedic sense of coexistence (Morton, 2016:160). By confronting the “ecological nyctalopia,” we are driven to instigate transformative cultural shifts and rediscover the “archaeologies of the future.”