History, theoretically is about facts, about what happened and when. We all know it’s more than that. It’s a mix of fact, fiction and on occasion outright fantasy. This project takes a psycho-geographical/historical approach mixing scattered, subjective and incomplete memories of Derry’s (mostly abandoned) railway heritage and mixing them up with random and very abstract memories of growing up in the city and indeed still living here now. It’s isn’t a history. It could be a story if you fill the blanks in yourself. You maybe see a selection of Monopoly-like ‘Chance’ cards framed and on screen. There’s no beauty contest to claim second prize in and nowhere to move forward to however. Maybe you see something else. And that’s important and rarer these days. We all have to have the freedom and power to see something else, untangle our histories from the grand (in the Irish and academic sense) narratives or even create our own.
You can view Mara Cavalli’s Once a Railroad video here: Once A Railroad
Gregory McCartney is the Project Coordinator/Editor of Abridged and Editor of the Honest Ulsterman. He is a freelance Curator and a member of the Void Curatorial Committee. Recent projects include ‘Why Is It Always December?’ at MCAC, Portadown, ‘I Will Go There, Take Me Home’ at the MAC, Belfast plus ‘A Many Splintered Thing’ at Void, Derry.
Mara Cavalli is a visual artist based in Derry. Her work ranges from documentary films to abstract video. She is interested in using multimedia to research real and imaginary environments, and in combining fictional story-telling with exploratory film-making.
Thanks to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for supporting this through their Support for the Individual Artist Programme and to the Verbal Arts Centre for hosting the exhibition.