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.”

 

 

 

Nyctalopia | Event Programme

 

 

Screening | Entranced Earth: on film, extraction and land

Book here

 

Join us for a screening of films by artists Adrián Balseca, Emily McFarland and Nollaig Molloy on Friday 21 June 2024, 6-8pm at Nerve Centre, 7-8 Magazine Street, BT48 6HJ.

 

Entranced Earth: on film, extraction and land brings together three films that consider the value of labour and impact of human actions within our land, through explorations into extractive mining practices of the earth’s natural resources including obsidian, gold and salt. Through archival material and collective memory, each film references a relationship with our land that’s based on use, our resources an apparatus for colonial and capitalist ideologies.

 

Find out more about the films below:

  • 🪨 Adrián Balseca, In Praise of Darkness

Deep in Ecuador’s Mullumica Valley, figures are busy extracting obsidian, an opaque volcanic rock. The rock then begins its metamorphosis, transported from the quarry to the pristine confines of a laboratory where it takes on its ultimate role – as a replacement for the director’s artificial eye. A mineral chronicle charting the course of healing.

 

  • 🪨 Emily McFarland, Curraghinalt

Curraghinalt is the first work in a three-part video series (“Dtan-a-goo-saran-dthu (The Wind’s Changed”) that explores the changing ecology of a particular landscape in the Sperrin Mountains of West Tyrone, in the North of Ireland. This single-channel video, which utilises documentary forms, dislocated sound, and voices and images that are woven together, explores collective memory and moments of testimony from individual members of a small rural community based at the Greencastle Peoples Office – a collection of caravans high in the mountains that overlook a valley of farmland. The camp coalesced in early 2018 in response to plans that Dalradian Gold Limited submitted to The Department for Infrastructure in the North of Ireland.

The sequence follows a conversation with community members including farmers, lorry drivers, engineers and retired people, at the Greencastle Peoples Office in 2019 on day 387 of their occupation of land acquired by the mining company. This dialogue, which shifts between shared experiences and personal accounts, converges with wider questions of solidarity, political representation, sovereignty, the circulation of capital, ideologies of capitalism and particular legacies of historical colonialism.

 

  • 🪨 Nollaig Molloy, Worth Your Salt

Worth Your Salt comes from a phrase used when describing someone of value or someone who is a good worker. The film comprises of digital and analogue moving image with segments of stop motion animations centred around the material of rock salt which the artist has collected from a working salt mine in Northern Ireland. Using a combination of digital and Super 8mm film footage, Nollaig collaborated with a contemporary dancer, fiddle player and stone carver.

The film is a visual essay exploring industry, craft, gestural movements and language associated with the material of salt. The structure of the film looks at a sense of time, geologically and a sense of time within the frames of moving image, while drawing attention to the value of labour, mass produced objects and natural resources.