Household 2013, Belfast, Ormeau Rd area

Household curators

Household curators: from left: Kim McAleese, Ciara Hickey, Alissa Kleist, Ruaidhri Lennon,Sighle Breathnach-Cashell and Eoin Dara.

The above team of curators did once more a sterling job, with support from Tom Hughes and Faye Hobson, as well as numerous volunteers and artists.  After the success of last year Household  they again brought energy, inspiration and good practice to pepper the streets of red brick terrace houses  in the Ormeau Road area with bunches of orange baloons as signs of enthusiastic response of around hundred artists to the opportunity created. The Headquarters were at Satis House, the only space in the whole part of Belfast dedicated to contemporary art. This time it was offered to Gerard Carson, who had recently an exhibition at the GTGallery, reviewed in my earlier post.  On the first floor a small room received  poetic wall paintings and a playful miniatures of dreamed up objects.

Gerard Carson, Input-Output, 2013, Satis House

The handout with a map introduced the event:

“Household Festival 2013 is partnered with PS Squared, a Belfast city centre organisation whos focus is on urban intervention and social interaction by artists and cultural practitioners, architects, multidisciplinary groups and theorists.  This year’s festival takes place across over 40 unique sites in and around the Ormeau Road and is showcasing over 100 artists and creative professionals from across Northern Ireland.”

Gerard Carson, Input – output, 2013, Satis House

Well prepared, well organised and publicised, the festive weekend embraced some last minute spontaneous additions,  whem one artist just bought a house and shared it as exhibition spaces with other two. That sharing, friendly spirit is not only sign of escape from the conflicts of the past, but also a confident higher moral standard. I wish all our politicians took note what values this young generation holds sacred: co-operation, sharing, mutual support, dynamic innovation, building a good life (in the terms set by Aristotles).

Colm Clarke, Remiss, 2013 – a kinetic sculpture after an abandonned start left fenced off and decaying.

That reminds me of the Grenwich Village in New York tranformed by artists into a vibrant community. Once a rural hamlet called ‘pine district’, it has become now  too expensive  for artists to live there.

Deirdre McKenna, Mundane Again, 2013, an outdoor montage /collage on the gable end of a house

The rows of red brick terrace houses around the Ormeau Road became good natured hosts to the festival that encompassed music, dance, films, letter writing club, sound installations, soundscape, collaborative poetry, embroidery, photography, sculpture, painting, banjo playing, architectural walking tours,mindfully crafting a dinner party, pop up water park, story telling, collecting ghost stories, riding bicycles, discussion about too few trees in the city, dream house for children, table tennis in the park, debate about housing, theatre, a walk with reading of short stories about life in the area, learning Spanish, conversation about Belfast Exposed, fiddle music from county Kerry, tea with music, cartoons, drone performance, Bbeyond performance, pub quiz and disco, debate about environment, about conbstruction of bicycles, and still more.

Diverse and all embracing the festival contained many high value treats as  well as relaxed participatory activities. As a sample, I introduce here four out of forty sites, hardly a representative sample. To participate fully a person would  need to be fit to walk, stand around, and have all the time free from Friday evening until Sunday evening  – late.  I am not that person.  I am still sincerely enthusiastic about Household for its capacity to enhance freedom and peaceful co-existence through both participatory and contemplative art encounters.

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