Composting for the future: an exhibition and long-term period of research and training that reflects on ways of working within Void, past and present. 

Launching Saturday 23 March 2024, 6-8pm

Void Art Centre is excited to present Composting for the future, a twofold exhibitionary project taking place across the organisation. Composting for the future marks Void Art Centre’s commitment to a living practice of Social Permaculture, a group of principles that look to models of co-existence and co-creation in permaculture and our more-than-human world. Our organisational structure will be re-imagined, becoming based on collaborative methods of working and sustainable use of logical resources such as project production. Composting for the future represents the initial starting point for this transformation.

‘To look to the future, it’s important to celebrate the past.’

With 2024 marking twenty years since Void Art Centre was constituted, we wish to celebrate the organisation across its many iterations. To do so, we have invited practitioners who have contributed to Void in different capacities to work with us: Paola Bernardelli, who cared for and documented Void’s archive; Gregory McCartney, who was a member of Void’s Curatorial Committee; and Damien Duffy, also a member of the Curatorial Committee, who delivered the education programme Void Art School. Through sharing their own relationships to Void Art Centre, each will unearth and make public stories and memories to be presented in a collectively designed timeline that details Void’s past twenty years, and the corresponding historical context. The timeline has also been co-edited by invited practitioners including Michael Bradley; Eibhlín Morrison; Catherine Ellis; Megan Doherty; and Audrey Blue. Each editor has selected a work or project from Void’s history, including ephemera from the planning and installation of past exhibitions, which will form part of the collectively built timeline.

Alongside this, the team at Void Art Centre have delved into the organisation’s archive, selecting previous commissions and new material to bring to the public again, including Tax Return (2018), a work by Keef Winter and 4 Studi sull’Increspatura del Mare (2021) by Invernomuto, a fragment of Alan Phelan’s collectively created public sculpture RGB Hyacinth and a piece from our commission with Forerunner, Office of the Rest.

We are also inviting the public to contribute to this collective timeline, with a history-making station forming part of the exhibition. At this station, the public will be able to research and select more archival material to be added to the timeline. This timeline references the art collective Chto Delat’s project Times, Lines, 1989s at CCA Glasgow (2019) and Group Material’s AIDs Timeline in 1989, which invited the public to co-design a collective timeline, building alternative historical narratives. 

In tandem with this, we will introduce the future of Void Art Centre, as we become an organisation that upholds the three key pillars of Social Permaculture – Earth care, People care, Fair share. Learning from permaculture ethics and principles, we will re-configure our organisational structure, embedding the sustainable use of local resources within our daily working practices and approaches to programming. 

Since February 2024, Void Art Centre has been hosting a Social Permaculture hub which acted as a training ground for Social Permaculture activities, including training by Dorian Braun, Alfred Decker and Stéphane Verlet Bottéro. We will present this process in the form of notes and posters created by Alfred Decker, and Notes towards a Permacircular Museum, a long-term artistic project by Stéphane Verlet Bottéro that has been brought to the context of Derry, and created in collaboration with Echo Echo and the team at Void Art Centre. 

Karla Sánchez, co-founder of Blackbird Cultur-Lab, will share a collection of publications that expand on farming and agriculture from historical, political-economy, and regenerative-agriculture perspectives, held in a temporary library resource created for Composting for the future.

Concurrent to the exhibition and hub, a public programme will accompany the project, bringing Void’s history and future working practices to events, workshops and reading groups. 

Composting for the future is supported by Arts Council Northern Ireland, Fluxus and Halifax Foundation, and is sponsored by Northbound Brewery. 


Image: Stéphane Verlet Bottéro, Exhibition-making, education, and care in times of ecological crisis, ZKM Museum, 2021