Millennium Court Arts Centre is delighted to present ‘Why is it always December?’ curated by Gregory McCartney and featuring work from X-Ray Audio (Stephen Coates and Paul Heartfield), Nadège Mériau, Mhairi Sutherland, Fiona Hession, Siobhan Mcgibbon and John Smith.
The exhibition takes its title from a 1980s One Thousand Violins song in which one of its lines is, ‘If I has dreams, well I bet they’d be bad dreams.’ Of the impetus behind the exhibition curator Gregory McCartney says,
“The Eighties was a hangover of a decade. The hopes of the Sixties had come to nothing. Punk was over and everything was violent, grey and Thatcherite. Growing up in 1980s Northern Ireland everyone had a religion and no-one had a job. If you ‘weren’t into’ the politics that was ascribed to you, you buried yourself in cheap cans of Steiger, got a haircut that would mark you out as kick-in-able (by both sides of the divide) and listened to loads of music. At the back of your mind there was also a realisation, what with the Falklands War, Regan’s Star Wars project and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that we were potentially five minutes away from a nuclear apocalypse.”
The work has its own very different emphasis. The fascinating X-Ray Project explores how Russians, in the period where Western records were banned and listening to them was dangerous, ingeniously still managed to hear the outlawed music; there are still parts of the world where listening to music is punishable by imprisonment and worse. Mhairi Sutherland explores ‘remote viewing’ in which both the USSR and USA used psychics to discover secrets from each other. In Nadege Meriau’s microscopic Little Deaths the familiar is turned into something threatening and dangerous, but beautiful. Siobhan McGibbon exposes the monsters just beyond the edge of sight. Fiona Hession’s Black Holes draw us into ourselves and John Smith recreates a portion of Eliot’s The Wasteland in a bar; both compelling and poetically beautiful.
This exhibition is accompanied by the publication Abridged 0-45: Why is it always December?