Gallery visitors given chance to jump onto Trump

A gallery in Belfast is offering the chance to jump from a height onto a giant photograph of Donald Trump.

The Jump Trump interactive exhibition has been launched as the US President enjoys his first visit to Ireland since his election to the White House.

Hundreds of miles across the island from Co Clare, where President Trump has based himself at his golf resort close to Doonbeg, visitors were taking turns at jumping onto his picture.

The jump is from a raised platform onto an inflatable mat adorned with a photograph of the 45th US president.

The experience is on offer at the Golden Thread Gallery as part of this year’s Belfast Photo Festival.

It is the first time the interactive exhibition by Dutch photographers Thomas Mailaender and Erik Kessels has been put on display in the UK or Ireland.

Festival director Michael Weir said it was just a coincidence that the exhibition was launching at the same time as President Trump’s visit.

“I first came across this piece in Amsterdam last year. I had never seen anything like this – a giant photograph that you can jump on – I thought it was so playful, a bit of fun and a way to engage with photography that I hadn’t even conceived before so I thought this needs to come to Belfast,” he told the Press Association.

Festival volunteer Christopher LeClere takes the plunge
Festival volunteer Christopher LeClere takes the plunge

“The theme of the festival is Truth And Lies, that stemmed from fake news and really who is more synonymous with talking about fake news than Donald Trump? And I thought it was a really key piece to bring to the festival.

“I suppose you could say it’s a bit of a coincidence that he is here in Ireland.”

Mr Weir defended the concept.

“When we put it out there that it was happening, there were people loving it, people a bit sceptical, and there have been some people a little taken aback by it but I think that’s just their interpretation of it,” he said.

“I think essentially for us, it is like putting a photograph of Trump on a wall, it’s a photograph on a mat, and people are welcome to go up and view it from above and not jump or they are welcome to jump, and if you jump it doesn’t mean you loathe him necessarily, you can love him or loathe him and jump.

“A lot of us will probably never get to meet Trump so for a lot of people, this is as close as they are going to get.”

Jump Trump forms part of a larger exhibition, Do Governments Lie?, at the gallery.

Other works include Philippe Chancel’s Kim Happiness, a series of photographs taken in North Korea exploring the management of happiness by the country’s government.

And Marc Lee’s video installation trawls social media in real time to weave tweets, Instagram posts and YouTube uploads by political parties and their election candidates into a live television show.

Jump Trump will be on display until Saturday June 29.