I am currently working as a volunteer for the Belfast exposed photographic gallery (the only contemporary photographic gallery in Northern Ireland) and the current exhibition raises some interesting points.

The Prehistory of The Crisis (2) is the continuation of an investigation into the values and opinions held by the Irish and Northern Irish community on immigration and immigrants. The first Prehistory was an exhibition for the Project Arts Centre, Dublin, where existing work by Irish artists was chosen to represent the curator’s message. Prehistory (2) however, has brought four artists together to produce new pieces of work, to be displayed in both Belfast and Dublin. The four artists are Susanne Bosch, Anthony Haughey, Daniel Jewesbury and Sinéad McCann, the result is two films one photographic response and one installation. All four pieces take the individuals viewpoint and are presented in intuitive formats, however for the sake on continuity I am going to concentrate on the piece by Susanne Bosch as it is photographic.

Bosch is a German national, however has lived and studied in Ireland for many years, which in ways makes her a perfect candidate for addressing issues of immigration as she herself is a foreign national. Bosch approached the topic of immigration by selecting everyday scenes and removing any elements that were not indigenous to Ireland, which on the surface could be misconstrued as a slightly obvious take.

Susanne Bosch

Susanne Bosch

For the Belfast exhibition Bosch shot four separate images. Each image underwent the non-indigenous removal programme. However Bosch has not simply removed these, people, cars, windows and trees via a Photoshop patch tool, each “object” has been physically removed from the prints with a laser cutter. Each individual image was then replicated hundreds of times and placed on top of each other in four separate piles on the floor of the gallery. This unique “mounting” offers the viewer the opportunity to gaze into the image and beyond. The idea of a void being left by the removal of non-indigenous objects is therefore heightened, and the viewer’s standpoint leaves an uncomfortable feeling of superiority within. Further to this mounting process Bosch has decided that these images are “available”. To the left of the images are plastic holders into which any of the prints can be placed and taken home by the viewer. This results in four uneven piles as people determine which images hold the most interest, emphasising the idea of a value being placed on a particular non-indigenous object.

If a tree helps the environment should it be allowed to stay, if a man works, and contributes to the economy should he? Should the value matter?

If you happen to find yourself in Belfast, I really recommend checking the exhibition out; the two films and installation also raise some fantastic points.