No-one’s Not from Everywhere

By Nick Stewart


Project by Nick Stewart

For this book:

- a series of conversations with irish artists were recorded during 2003/4.

- these were informal sessions, not interviews.

- a broad spectrum of subjects related to the central theme of identity and nationality were discussed.

Artists were told that:

- personal experience as much as intellectual analysis or political debate was to be the focus.

- their quotes would not be attributed in the final text. they would remain anonymous.

- the recordings would be the source material for a sampling process.

- selected fragments of conversation would be arranged into a new sequence.

- the resulting text  would be interspersed with photographs taken over a ten year period on journeys between england and ireland.

- all recordings would be erased at the end of the process.


Nick Stewart has exhibited video and video installation pieces internationally since 1991. More recent text based work derived from consideration of his Irish background and extensive research into TV news archives of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The book no-one’s not from everywhere, 192 pages, 88 black and white photos, is the culmination of this four year project. Currently he is developing, The Museum of The Border, a new website, exhibition and book project for completion in 2009.

289 In the area of Belfast where I grew up, there was a road called Etna Drive, which was ironic because there were so many riots on it. At the end of the street where it met the equally ironically named, Alliance Avenue, there was a ‘peace line’ of corrugated iron. The Protestants lived behind that. Occasionally you’d see one coming through and it was like a natural history film. That’s how ridiculous it was to me. Then recently, there was a report in the paper and I saw the word ‘Ardoyne’. It said that at that specific junction that I’m talking about, during the main part of the Troubles, one third of all the killings were in a half mile of that junction where I lived.


290 In a city like Belfast the spaces are very charged with identity and significance because of the social geography – the way one area abuts another – and there’s so much energy invested in the identities of those different areas: in their difference. Living there, you subliminally blocked certain areas: they were off your mental map. It’s like those satellite photos of prohibited military installations with places blanked out.

291 In Belfast, much as I hate to say it, there was this pleasure in knowing your territory, your patch, how to negotiate your way through the streets. It makes me think of boys playing computer games and how the scenario you see over and over again is that you’re following a gun down an alleyway or a road and it’s always about negotiating territories and spaces.

292 A friend of mine said it was a pity that the Troubles were now a peace process because the Troubles were the most interesting thing about the place. Now it’s just become another consumers’ paradise. “What’s your identity now if it’s not that country that had Catholics and Protestants in conflict?”

Pre-view pages at:

Book available from the artist. Contact through above site.