Artist Pauline Short




Before Reason 1

This work has been inspired by lived experience and memory growing up in a politically conflicted space during the early seventies in Belfast. As a child I lived in a space of conflict using the imaginative state as lived experience to remove myself from the realities of war. By using the strength of my imagination when out playing among the rubble of burnt out houses, workplaces, dwellings and carcasses of burnt out vehicles I found a way of using found objects, household rubbish and the power of the imagination to transform myself into an imaginary place were innocence prevailed and fantasy ruled.
Never questioning war, not assured enough to ask why.
Not sensing the danger held within the reality of the space. Without a care. Innocence. A time before reason set in. The politics the power struggles. The winning and losing. The division and the conflict. All held in a game. A sound. A smell. A memory. Forcing debate on division, locally and globally, forcing the question who is the winner who is the loser and does it matter? Who are the real victims of war?

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Before Reason 2

This work has been inspired by lived experience and memory growing up in a politically conflicted space during the early seventies in Belfast. As a child I lived in a space of conflict using the imaginative state as lived experience to remove myself from the realities of war. By using the strength of my imagination when out playing among the rubble of burnt out houses, workplaces, dwellings and carcasses of burnt out vehicles I found a way of using found objects, household rubbish and the power of the imagination to transform myself into an imaginary place were innocence prevailed and fantasy ruled.
Never questioning war, not assured enough to ask why.
Not sensing the danger held within the reality of the space. Without a care. Innocence. A time before reason set in. The politics the power struggles. The winning and losing. The division and the conflict. All held in a game. A sound. A smell. A memory. Forcing debate on division, locally and globally, forcing the question who is the winner who is the loser and does it matter? Who are the real victims of war?

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Division

Ash and kinder collected over a period of time, is representational to collecting memories of history, objects that have a sensory smell, audio and visual linked to global war.

  • The division of the ash and kinder representing the divisions within communities affected by war.
  • The noise created when dividing the material reminiscent of marching.
  • The musical sound produced when pouring kinder into pile is reminiscent of breaking glass.
  • The taste of ash relating to lived experience in a conflicted space.
  • The ash and dust representing the soul, floating into the air as it is separated, landing in the hair, skin, clothes. Traces of death left on the body.
  • The air thick with ash blocking vision and perception of space, leaving a sense of Armageddon.
  • The sieve is a metaphor to searching.
  • The smell that engulfs the space a reminder of something that no longer exists in space.
  • The piling up of kinder representation that divisions can be reignited.

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Hoking and Poking

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It's Just A Theory

Researching how siege mentality can affect a whole community emotionally, mentally and physically in the surroundings they inhabit together while under siege from a power source stronger than themselves. Having a sense of belonging while living under these conditions can be difficult to achieve and feeling part of the 'struggle' while not understanding the politics and power struggles that are going on within the community destroys the individuality.
Thinking and behaving individually can isolate and cause the community to reject because of fear based ideologies. Having a sense of not belonging and isolation has the power to destroy the mind and seize ambitions making existence a chore and death and destruction becomes an everyday part of life that is accepted without question.


Hugh Rossi, the minister of state in charge of finance in Margaret Thatcher's Stormont described a visit to the Ardoyne area of north belfast wrote: "One can only imagine the psychological effect of living out one's life in such surroundings, imprisoned within them by fear, with an utter hopelessness of ever being gainfully employed or doing anything useful with one's life. It's not surprising that Ardoyne is regarded as a 'dangerous' area where I would say a strong and, I would add, a distasteful army presence has to be maintained"


Siege mentality can easily be instilled but is extremely hard to remove and through this work I am posing the question "Will peace in Ireland ever be achieved if ideologies based on fear do not change".

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Thorny Issue

The cause and affect of living and surviving through war is the concept behind this work. An attempt to open debate and question the motivation behind war with the audience. Highlighting within the work issues of sectarianism, racisms, conflict, control, power struggles globally, human rights and the affects on the individual.


Questioning is human population united in the fundamental belief that all souls have a right to basic human condition, that belief in the individual as belonging, being a valued member of society, should be a concern and expectation globally where situations of war and conflict take place. Is humanity replaceable?


Who wins? Who loses? Can one survive without the other? Do we care?

This work was shown as part of a performance to video installation in a gallery setting and the residue transformed into sculpture.

Wars do not simply destroy part of what exists: they also prevent society from making new investments.

Pauline Short.

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