Alastair MacLennan

I see art as ‘visual poetry’.
As well as providing very positive benefits to society, the arts can help diminish and alleviate negatives, soften pain and nuance healing, in self and others, just as a poet may use rhyme and rhythm in word sounds, to augment, transition and transform ‘meaning’, through language.

The equivalent may also be realised, in diverse forms, throughout the visual arts.


The performance ALLUDES to a plurality of situations:

1)… the ‘presence of absence’ during COVID-19 virus lockdowns

2)… dangers of humanly constructed binary thinking

3)… the presumption of nature as our ‘servant’, not our teacher, or master

4)… societal ‘unthinking’ re global warming

5)… the interfusion of primary elements – earth, air, fire and water

6)… as COVID-19 virus isn’t blocked by separatist borders, the need for the species to evolve to ‘holistically’ realised systems of being, doing and thinking

7)… the spoken words, in audio, are the result of blinkered thinking and ‘selected facts’ in what constitutes ‘news’.

8)… the need for holism to evolve healthily in mind, body and spirit”

Alastair MacLennan represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale, with inter-media work commemorating the names of all those who died as a result of the Political Troubles in Northern Ireland, from 1969 to then date (1997). During the 1970’s and ’80’s he made some long, non-stop performances in Britain, America and Canada, of up to 144 hours duration. Subject matter dealt with political, social and cultural malfunction. Since 1975 he’s been based in Belfast, Northern Ireland and was a founding member of Belfast’s Art and Research Exchange (1978). Since 1975 he taught at Ulster Polytechnic, later, the University of Ulster, where for 11 years he ran the Master of Arts (MA) Fine Art program. He’s travelled regularly to Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, North America and Canada presenting Actuations (performance/installations). Since 1989 he’s been a member of the performance art entity, Black Market International, which performs globally. He is presently an Emeritus Professor of Fine Art from the University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, an Honorary Fellow of (former) Dartington College of Arts, Devon, England, an Honorary Associate of the (former) National Review of Live Art, Glasgow, Scotland, a founding member of Belfast’s Bbeyondperformance art organisation and in 2020 he received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws, from the University of Dundee, in Scotland.