[ISEA2009] Artists Statement: Matt Green & Stuart Sloan – Blackstaff is Belfast, 2009

Artists Statement

Locative Media Sound work with accompanying 2 channel video installation

The Blackstaff River, a principal tributary of the Lagan River, flows underground from the south of the city to the centre. The majority of the river was culverted (constricted to artificial channels beneath the city) in the late 19th century. A second major culverting operation was undertaken in the 1990s. Prior to Belfast’s industrialisation, the river coursed through woodland, parkland, meadows and natural flood planes. By 1881 the river had become severely polluted and was regarded as an obstruction to urban growth. A news piece from the time commented: ‘All agree that the Blackstaff must be buried out of sight’.

Blackstaff is Belfast seeks to unearth the Blackstaff River. The river is to be rehabilitated and reinstated. It shall, once again, flow freely through the heart of the city. The inflictions of modernity that had rendered the Blackstaff River grotesque shall be remedied. The river will once more become a source of growth and beauty.

  • Matt Green is a sound artist who is presently studying for a PhD at the Sonic Arts Research centre, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK.
  • Stuart Sloan recently made the documentary short Counterweight. He also was part of a small crew that made the Northern Irish feature film I Wanted to Talk to You Last Night (2008).

Full text (PDF) p. 16