Hull art installation will challenge people’s perception of hate crime

Besi Besemar June 26, 2017

A provocative and interactive art installation exploring barriers within our society is set to appear at Hull Minster throughout Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s Freedom Season.

The Electric Fence, inspired by the everyday experience of people facing hate crime around the world and the dark horrors that have resulted throughout history, will be open to the public at Hull Minster in Trinity Square from 4 July through to the end of September.

The installation, by artist Annabel McCourt, makes use of some of the latest electronic and sound technology to create a sensory experience aiming to challenge people’s perceptions of hate crime.

Four giant metal posts are connected with wire and react to an audience’s presence. The Fence appears live, triggering visceral and thought-provoking reactions.

 Annabel McCourt
Annabel McCourt

Annabel said: “The Electric Fence was born out of a direct and personal response to a highly publicised American Pastor’s sermon in which he advocated a ‘solution’ to same-sex marriage.”

The pastor Rev. Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, NC, stated in his Mother’s Day sermon, responding to President Obama’s public endorsement of same-sex marriage that we should, “build a great big large fence, 50 or a hundred mile long. Put all the lesbians in there, fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. And have that fence electrified so they can’t get out”.

Annabel added: “I couldn’t have foretold the current climate in my wildest nightmares. Soundbites of ‘learning lessons’ resonate in a hollow mantra in which we haven’t evolved. First, Trump rises to power promising a wall, then, reports of gay men being interned and tortured in concentration camps in Chechnya, evoking the indescribable horrors of Auschwitz.

“Now, a ‘coalition of chaos’ fuelling fear and throwing into question new-found and cherished LGBT+ freedoms. Borders, boundaries, terror, fake news… we are trapped in a loop of hatred where the human condition and an architecture of fear are working in perfect harmony.

“The Electric Fence although initially inspired by LGBT+ concerns, is an installation for everyone; exploring freedoms, both physical and metaphorical loaded with symbolism and carrying the scars of humanity within its very fabric.

At a time when the world seems more fractious and volatile than ever and on American Independence Day, maybe, just maybe, in the very building where William Wilberforce himself was baptised, there might be a glimmer of hope…”

The Electric Fence will be open to the public from July 4 until September 30 at Hull Minster. Entry is free.

The project is part of Hull 2017’s Creative Communities Programme and offers a counterpoint to the LGBT+ 50 celebrations taking place in Hull in July marking 50 years since the start of decriminalisation of homosexuality in England.

It is also supported using public funding by the Arts Council of England.

Annabel hopes that after debuting the installation in Hull she will tour it nationally and internationally, with plans to incorporate people’s stories of hate and hope by integrating them into the future sound design of the installation.

Martin Green
Martin Green

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said: “With our third season reflecting on ideas of freedom, which Hull has historically been at the forefront of, Annabel’s thought-provoking installation is timely. As we celebrate the progress that has been made in attitudes to LGBT+ and the ability to be who you are, the Electric Fence is a stark reminder that around the world more still needs to be done to enable everyone to enjoy the freedoms that many of us are able to take for granted.”

For more information about the installation, click here: