Another Pointless Dividing Line
© By James King
The Foyle-side shopping centre now stands on what was the piece of waste ground which provided the canvas for Another Pointless Dividing Line. We began with a line of chalk up the outside of the red brick wall. Having completed this we decided to bring it down the inside into the waste ground, over a derelict stony wall structure. It seemed a pity to stop at the bottom. After all the dividing line in the city between Protestants and Catholics/ nationalists and unionists, stretched right across the whole city :class, generations, schools , jobs, churches, housing areas…... We improvised surfaces for writing on, with found objects including bricks and pieces of board. .. Until we reached the perimeter fence, at the far side of which we made the point. A piece of otherwise useless stick.
This was part of the “Exercises In Spontaneity” project from 1988 to 1992
From 1988 to 1992 myself and Eamonn O’Donnell made a weekly intervention in the streets of Derry, using various forms of action in response to prevailing circumstances and diverse locations: from city centre monuments to back street waste ground. ( ...this has involved an unshakable confidence in the power and limitless possibilities of creativity responding to the every day and ordinary..Prof. Teresa McCormack , Moving Pitches forward). These actions were carried out in Derry, at various opportune sites, and pieces of waste ground, around the West Bank area of the city.”
Two of the images, “Security Fandalism, ” and “Pointless Dividing Line” relate directly to the “troubles.” “Security Fanalism”, was a response to the official barricading of Derry’s walls. “Pointless Dividing Line”, epitomises our concerns about the sectarian divide in the city.
“Form and Substance” , is open to interpretation, including the absence or loss of friends, in those difficult times. “Strip Searchers Brains”, was a spontaneous reaction to the horse manure, reminding me of the forced anal investigations experienced at that time by incarcerated prisoners.
The installation, “Social Security Network”, 1993, was devised by a friend who was at the time a political prisoner in England. Jim Hughes joined us in constructing it at the Playhouse. The overall theme was the constant struggle of people within the web of social security legislation and security force presence.
A detailed account of the “Exercises in Spontaneity ” project is published in “Moving Pitches “, Yes Publications, 2008.
Artwork and photo by James King