When I tracked down a Nazi soldiers snapshot of an execution, it reminded me how warily you must tread when you try to enlist the past, however good your intentions|
I have been working off and on for a couple of years with an architect friend, Declan Hill, on an attempt to map the wall or rampart that in the 17th century surrounded the town of Belfast or, at least, may have surrounded it. There is some debate about whether maps of the time show an existing structure or sketches for work never carried out. Declan and I meet occasionally to look at places where we think the old town plan intersects with, and occasionally contradicts, the modern city grid. One day a column in Argos on Corn Market, the next, a staircase in the Linen Hall Library.
Our thesis is that, even when all physical trace is gone, walls persist. Not altogether original, you might say, but in Belfast, where peace walls remain an all too visible fact, it is pertinent to Declans mind and mine. Our hope is that we can collaborate with an architectural institute in Berlin. Not altogether surprising, you might also say, but Berlin is a city to which we both feel bound by something more than bricks and mortar. Continue reading...