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'Mother, the Air is Blue, the Air is Dangerous'

By  Tim Shaw 2014 - 2015
The installation recounts an early life experience of sitting in a restaurant in Belfast when a firebomb explodes on the floor below creating pandemonium. Chairs, tables, old clothes and shoes are scattered across the floor of a fabricated space. Slow moving shadows of people running are cast upon walls, dinner trays revolve through the air filled with haze, and the intense sound of many sirens radiate out from the corners of the room. Many years later the memory of the event remains vivid. Sitting in the restaurant with my mother, two bombs explode one after the other, followed by a third with a deafening bang. Everything vibrated then there was a momentary silence just before the panic set in. The dense pressured air that rose from the stairs appeared to turn petrol blue and expanded like a large balloon ready to burst. Time seemed momentarily suspended as the dinner trays flew through the air and people dissolved into shadows running like animals one way then another. The work focuses beyond the psychological dimension of terror to the zone that is weirdly distilled, hypnotic and compelling. The work has its origins in the many IRA bombings carried out during the early 70’s in Northern Ireland; particularly ‘Bloody Friday’ (22nd July 1972) which is when the IRA de-donated 22 bombs in 80 minutes within in a perimeter of three miles of Belfast city center. The installation goes beyond sides and focuses on innocent victims caught up in exogenous divisions, something that countless thousands will relate to involved in the many conflicts across the world today. The installation was first conceived for an exhibition entitled Time Got kicked Around at the Kappatos Gallery, Athens in November 2014, with the generous support of the Art Professionals-In-Athens Residency Scheme. Tim Shaw

Filmed by Constantine Nissidis

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