It starts as a walk down the street. From there to the river and further, to where the tall ships where build. In her filmic journey through the city to the now deserted Drawing Offices of Harland&Wolff, Gillian McIver re-connects two historic and magical places. Join the tour, hold tight and discover for yourself.

Film Artist: Gillian McIver
Running Time 5.12


“THE FIRST EXPERIMENTAL CITY (BELFAST)” takes the text from Ivan Chtcheglov’s Situationist pamphlet Formulary for a New Urbanism (1953) and combines it with a distorted and speeded-up journey across the city.

Belfast today boasts many of what called “magical locales” that deserve to be explored. This film is a journey, moving through the city from Donegall Street to the empty and mysterious wasteland of Queen’s Island, and into the secret “magical locale” of the former Harland & Wolff Drawing Rooms.

In my “experimental city (Belfast)”, these drawing rooms would be the locus for “avant-garde activities and productions.” (Chtcheglov)

Rediscovering the city as urban playground and dispelling the anomie of urban life is one of the tasks and responsibilities of the contemporary urban artist, to involve and invoke the relationship between the citizens and their city.

Artist Statement:

The deep role of time and change as the basic subject matter for all of my work is part of what I call the condition “post-industrial art.” Art made in the wastelands of urban dereliction, in the consciousness of the post-industrial state we live in, where old structures that bound social existence, such as factories, hospitals, lidos and schools have been abandoned to new ideologies.
As an artist I am compelled by the notion of the “reintegration of fragments” or what Anselm Kiefer has described as “bringing together what has come apart.” I see my interest in site-response as part of a larger picture, in which art grapples with notions of fragmentation and time.
I am interested in revealing images which are very strong; that offer a glimpse of past worlds and indistinct realities; where the boundaries between fiction and documentary blur, and memories take on a life of their own.


Gillian McIver is a UK based Canadian artist. She works in video and installation, and is a founding member of the Luna Nera group of site-responsive artists.