Talbot St was a soundscape piece presented at the Imagine Festival of Politics and Ideas, as part of Ben Weir’s socially-engaged architectural installation, titled The Public Pulpit.The Public Pulpit was erected outside St Anne’s Cathedral, Talbot St., Belfast, on 17 March 2018. The Pulpit measured 3.6 metres in height and stood for the duration of the day to be used by the public as they saw fit.
As part of the installation Weir invited a number of writers, activists and artists to present work to the public. As one of the selected artists, I presented a specially made sound piece titled Talbot St. The work was made by recording the sounds of Talbot St in Dublin – a street located in the heart of the city, which contains a great variety of different people and social activities. From a Dart and Luas line, a plethora of local shops, bars, tourist shops and people of every nationality, this Dublin street represents something of a totem to the modern city. Talbot St in Belfast, where The Public Pulpit was located, resides on the opposite end of this spectrum – a quiet, relatively short and narrow street that has few remarkable features, minus the magnificent cathedral that graces it’s side.
The differences between the streets of these two Irish capital cities poetically demonstrates the divergent trajectories both cities have taken over the past few decades. One has become a hyper-connected, multicultural epicenter that is being quickly eaten up by tech-giants and property investors. The other – stained by a turbulent and ‘troubled’ past – has grown slowly and is only picking up speed now, many years after Northern Ireland conflict has ended.
By transplanting the sounds of Talbot St, Dublin, to Talbot St, Belfast, I aimed shine a light on these differences, reflecting on both cities present lives and what the future might hold for Belfast in the coming years.
Listen to Talbot St below: