"Dividers" by Vivienne Burnside
Owner: Laganside Corporation
Location: Clarendon Dock, Belfast
Artist: Vivien Burnside
Material: Bronze with stainless steel core
Funded by: National Lottery Fund through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; Laganside Corporation; Belfast Harbour Commissioners
Background: When asked about the ‘Dividers’, Vivien spoke about the initial impact made upon her by the Clarendon Dock area, especially by the simple, elegant, symmetry of the old dry docks "Then when I spent time there, I met people who were eager to tell me of their knowledge of the place; of their lives as children growing up on crammed streets, as casual labour on the docks, as present-day office workers".
To the passer-by today’s buildings around Clarendon Dock are quiet but, in them, the business of international communication is on a line of continuum of commerce earlier effected by the ships, which connected Belfast with the rest of the world. Like ‘Dividers’, simple, familiar hand held tools were key to the designing, constructing and planning which allowed circumnavigation from this city.
Vivien also mentioned the ‘poetic ambiguity’ in the word ‘Dividers’. Here, at the edge of the dock, the form of the sculpture will act as a frame or doorway in the space, both entrance and exit, and it will provide a symmetrical, linear shape among a great many blocks of buildings, echoing the H&W sentinels on the other side of the river.
Laganside was keen to encourage community participation with the ‘Dividers’ piece. In December 2000, its Community Team placed posters around the Clarendon Dock area inviting interested users of the area to actively become involved in the project. Eight people came forward, attending design workshops and physically made their own bronze plaques to be located near the ‘Dividers’. Each participant was aksed to prepare an image or text, which best described what Clarendon Dock and the surrounding area means to them.
Artists Details: Vivien Burnside lives and works in Northern Ireland. She has an MA from the University of Ulster and is an Associate Lecturer at the Belfast Insititute. Vivien has been exhibiting work, in a variety of media, in galleries and public spaces since 1981. In recent years, work has been seen in Belfast, London, Seattle, Reykjavik and Hanover. In Belfast, previous public artworks include billboard paintings, participation in Horsehead International Sculpture Project and a commission for The Hospital for Sick Children, Royal Victoria Hospital.