the search

200-mile run along the Northern Irish border 


A year on from the Brexit referendum, the search saw the length of the open Northern Irish border turn into a site of investigation of freedom of movement. Engaging border communities, the 200 mile-run spread over seven days became a ritual of journeying, story-telling and conversations about the hard border that once existed and the impact of its potential return. Symbolic structures of dust, rubble and seeds scattered along the route at unmarked stops transformed the border into an invisible monument — a proposed protected site of autonomy, resistance, and celebration of those crossing it every day for family, friendships, work and education.

The project concluded with a solo exhibition at PS² Studios which explored the communal, haptic and ephemeral nature of the project and its documentation. In an attempt at reverse archeology, memories from the site were re-told — including through a reading of The Rule of the Land by Garrett Carr — and new brick structures erected with the help of Belfast residents; these had to be rebuilt throughout the duration of the show as gallery visitors accidentally interfered with, or walked into, the objects. Glimpses of the project were showcased through analogue photography, telling of the impossibility of repeating the journey exactly as it happened, and paying tribute to the artist Bas Jan Ader, whose own impossible journey ended off the coast of Ireland.


the search was made possible with the support of EJ O’Reilly and Border Communities Against Brexit. 

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© 2019 Aleks Stanek