I Want To Believe
David Vintiner & Gem Fletcher
3rd June – 8 July 2021
Opening: 3rd June, 2021 from 5pm – 8pm
The University of Atypical is delighted to welcome you back with the launch of our new exhibition I Want To Believe, part of Belfast Photo Festival 2021 with work by David Vintiner & Gem Fletcher. This captivating exhibition poses profound questions about what it is to be human, challenging our understanding of what a body is and how we converge with technology in a world of evolving possibilities.
David & Gem began this project on futurists five years ago, based on a curiosity about transhumanism and its implications for the future of humanity.
Transhumanism is the belief that human beings are destined to transcend their mortal flesh through technology. Transhumanists believe our biology constrains our experience of reality and refuse to accept what nature has given us. From bionic eyes to designing new senses and extending life expectancy, they are redefining what it means to be human.
Although these ideas have long lived on the pages of comic books and sci-fi novels, the movement – now a reality – is starting to disrupt industries and individuals in meaningful ways. With technology evolving at an unprecedented rate, further change is imminent. This project documents a critical moment in time as we enter the next chapter in human evolution.
The ideas explored in these images demonstrates how optimising our brains and bodies could revolutionise and redefine humanity. As human architects, we are limited only by our imagination. The profiles of transhumans are as diverse as its application, from artists and CEOs to academics and bedroom hackers, the transhumanist movement raises some important questions for us all.
While we love the efficiency and connectivity technology provides, can we embrace a future where it goes beyond our environment and enters our bodies and minds? Could we reach a point where we gift friends and family cognitive implants and new senses? If we are able to defy death, what are the implications for the meaning of life? And, most importantly, will this evolution divide or unite us?
Humans are now gods. We are able to design and create our personal evolution. But do we have the foresight to do it the right way?
Transhumanism and the Future of Humanity
Tuesday 22nd June, 6pm
CLICK HERE TO BOOK A TICKET
Please Note: due to Covid restrictions we ask that visitors use the sanitising units, practice social distancing and wear a mask unless exempt. We look forward to seeing you and will have a limit of 10 visitors in the space at a time to allow for social distancing.
About the Artists
David Vintiner is a photographer based in London. His projects focus on human behaviour, exploring unique communities and events that connect people.
David’s photographs have an elegant simplicity that finds order and formality in amongst complex scenes and stories, bringing attention to place, gesture and expression. His images are gentle and honest, celebrating those pictured and seeking an emotional connection with each subject. With a constant curiosity about people’s desires, interests and passions, he is drawn to the obscure and unusual yet always placing human experience front and centre.
Alongside his personal practice David works on editorial and commercial projects for the likes of The Guardian, Wired, GQ & The New York Times. His work has been exhibited in several group shows throughout Europe and a number of his portraits are included in the National Portrait Gallery archive in London.
Gem Fletcher is a writer, podcaster and photo director based in London. As a writer, she focuses on photography, art and the creative process and how they manifest in contemporary culture. She has written for the British Journal of Photography, Elephant, It’s Nice That, The Guardian and An0ther. As Photo Director of Riposte Magazine, Gem collaborates with a global roster of visual artists to frame Riposte’s mission, making provocative and engaging content. In 2019, she launched The Messy Truth podcast, a series of candid conversations that unpack the future of visual culture and what it means to be a photographer today. In dialogue with photographers, artists, curators, commissioners, critics and editors, she discusses the complexity of image-making and its relationship to a range of topics including representation, process, mental health, power and more.
Image ID: Neil Harbisson (from the series ‘I want to Believe’)
Colour photographic portrait of Neil Harbisson. They have short blond hair cut in a style that is similar to a bowl cut, shaved at the sides above the ears. Neil is wearing a grey suit jacket with a bright pink shirt and multicoloured bowtie. A curved antenna comes from the back of Neils head to the front, on one cheek they have a plaster . The background is a cream colour.
Additional information about the image..
Neil Harbisson was born with achromatism, a rare disease that means he is colourblind. Harbisson created a new sense to go beyond the human visual spectrum—in 2004 he had an antenna implanted into his skull. The antenna allows him to perceive visible and invisible colours as audible vibrations, including infrareds and ultraviolets.
As a Cyborg artist, he uses his new sense to explore identity, human perception and the connection between sight and sound. He can listen to Warhols, paint with sound and write music based on what he sees around him.
‘In the same way that a sculptor uses a hammer to sculpt a piece of stone, I’m using cybernetics to sculpt my brain. I don’t feel like I’m using technology or wearing technology. I feel like I am technology. I don’t think of my antenna as a device—it’s a body part.’ (Neil Harbisson)
I Want To Believe
Brian Kielt: Confessional
Gillian O’Hagan and Helen Sloan: Missing Voices
Exhibition dates: 22 October 2019 to 15 November 2019
Programmed with Belfast International Arts Festival, Atypical Gallery presents Missing Voices, a participatory photographic project about the lives of young women with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), led by Queen’s University researcher Gillian O’Hagan and photographer Helen Sloan.
Over a five week period, Helen and Gillian worked with a group of nine adolescent girls from four schools across Belfast. Using smartphones, the girls produced a series of 34 photographs, giving a powerful and moving insight into their lives inside and outside of the mainstream school environment.
To complement the exhibition, Atypical Gallery will host a panel discussion and photovoice workshop from 7pm on the evening of Thursday 24 October.
Led by Gillian O’Hagan and Helen Sloan, this discussion will delve deeper into the focus of the Missing Voices project which aims to amplify the adolescent female voice of ASD. The panel will look at the importance of creative expression in helping girls with ASD to allow parents, teachers, friends and others to understand their experience of the world around them.
They will also discuss the chronic problem of misdiagnosis in female ASD, asking why practitioners continue to use male-led diagnostic criteria that leaves countless young girls unseen, unheard and unrepresented.
Gillian O’Hagan is a doctoral student at Queen’s University Belfast. She is also the SENCO and Head of Psychology in Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School in Belfast.
Helen Sloan is an Irish photographer best known for her work as primary stills photographer on the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Alma Haser: Pseudo
Exhibition Dates: 13th June 2019 to 19th July 2019
Richard Canning: The Space Between
Launch: Saturday March 30th 2019 2pm to 4pm
Exhibition Dates: April 1st to April 26th 2019
Mary Cody: String
Launch: Saturday January 19th 2019 2pm to 4pm
Exhibition Dates: January 21st to March 1st 2019
Jane McCormick: Not Half Right
Launch: Saturday November 10th 2018 2pm to 4pm
Exhibition Dates: November 12th to December 21st 2018
Maurice Hobson: Faces Caught In Time: A posthumous snapshot of the life and work of Maurice Hobson
Launch: Thursday August 2nd 5.30pm to 8pm
Exhibition dates: August 3rd to August 31st
Robin Price: Air of the Anthropocene