Belfast Exposed


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25th Sep - 7th Oct

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21st May - 22nd May

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Short films about learning

Gallery 1

13th Mar 2015 to 18th Apr 2015

About The Exhibition

Belfast Exposed was founded in 1983 by a group of amateur photographers who set out to depict the ongoing conflict and everyday life in the city from a local perspective. The Belfast Exposed archive contains over half a million images documenting political, cultural and social change in Northern Ireland over three decades.

Belfast Exposed’s community photography programme continues to feed into the archive, and in recent years a number of artists’ responses have been developed through the gallery including work by 2015 Turner Prize winner, Duncan Campbell (2004), Redmond Entwistle (2009) and Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin (2011). A new work by Michael Hanna entitled Short films about learning is the latest project in this series and will be presented as a solo exhibition in the main gallery.

Short films about learning is a single channel video installation which juxtaposes a selection of images taken from the Belfast Exposed archive with excerpts from a lecture series entitled Introduction to Psychology by Paul Bloom, a professor at Yale University. The lectures provide a detailed overview of a scientific study of thought and behaviour. The complete series of twenty one-hour lectures is accessible through the free online learning platform Academic Earth.

Hanna’s work presents audio descriptions of psychological theories including ‘habituation’, ‘the spotlight effect’ and ‘object permanence’ – alongside images taken from the Belfast Exposed archive. Selected imagery includes street scenes, protest marches, masked gunmen and political murals. The rhythm of the speech in the accompanying soundtrack varies throughout from carefully measured statements to free flowing thoughts, with the images timed to mirror this rhythm.

Short films about learning invites the viewer to consider the images, and the subjects they represent, as a series of codes, patterns of learned behaviours and universal tendencies. The gallery has been modified to create an immersive installation, which reflects on questions of political power, agency, violence and representation and draws attention to the influence of photography, the archive and the gallery on our understanding of these ideas.

The Artists

Michael Hanna

Artist Biography

Michael Hanna (b.1979, Craigavon, Northern Ireland) completed his MFA at the University of Ulster in 2012 and has recently undertaken residencies at the Millennium Court Arts Centre (Portadown) and Digital Art Studios (Belfast).

Hanna has been involved in exhibitions in the UK and internationally including Rencontres Internationales at La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris and Multiplicity at NURTUREart, New York.

His work is developed from research into psychology and linguistics. Recent projects include Relearning to Speak: A scientific and cultural mapping of the mouth.


Belfast Exposed and the artist would like to thank the original photographers - Sean McKernan, Mervyn Smyth, Gerry Casey and all other contributing photographers to the archive. Copyright of the original archive material remains with these photographers and with Belfast Exposed.

Short films about learning is funded by Arts Council Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and Department for Social Development. The exhibition is sponsored by RedSocks.