Carnegie Mellon University
February 25, 2015

Making Art in a Hostile Environment

Making Art in a Hostile Environment

John Kindness

When social order broke down in Northern Ireland in 1969 it was very frightening. My brothers and I were brought up to be naïve about sectarian divisions. We didn’t know that it had all happened before and would again. My generation had grown up in a sleepy period. It was quite unnerving. The city centre imposed a voluntary curfew on itself. It was a time when we should have had the social and creative time of our lives but we were in a dead zone after 6.30pm. People developed mechanisms for coping but it took a bit of time. If I missed the last bus at seven I had to walk home through an area known as Murder Mile. Once you were home you weren’t going into the city again. However, one of the positive effects was that it pulled people back into the older style of entertainment: people got together, brought drink, sang and played music the way they would have done before there was a city centre.

I suppose I went along with the agenda in Art School in Belfast up to a point, but when you found yourself in a lecture on the theories of Minimal Art and the building was rocked by an explosion that might have taken lives in a civilian shopping area, that agenda came under scrutiny.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
4:30–6:00 PM
Steinberg Auditorium
Baker Hall A-53