Small Talk installed at Durham Art Gallery
Small Talk installed at Spacex, Exeter

Small Talk

Two screen video installation with stereo sound, 8 mins, 2010.

The footage on one screen is of the petrol station shot in 2001, on the other screen are the same views re-shot nine years later. The subtitles on each screen appear to be having a sardonic conversation with each other about fonts, the weather, the passing of time, music and silence, why an artist would want to re-make a video work nine years after making it, personal and artistic regret, and failure.

Purchased in 2015 by The Arts Council Collection.


Thin Air installed at LJMU
Thin Air installed at University of Sunderland

Thin Air – The Psycho-Vocalic Discoveries of Alan Smithson

by Dr Annette Gomperts

Six channel sound installation for lecture theatre (with projected still images and accompanying book of lecture notes), 60 mins, 2009.

Belgian architectural historian Dr Annette Gomperts and her collaborator Paul Rooney have produced Thin Air: part academic lecture, part science-fiction story. Thin Air highlights the legacy of 1970s Leeds Polytechnic student Alan Smithson, who claimed that ‘voices’ he had recorded in the Polytechnic’s H Building were sonic manifestations of memories that had been somehow preserved in the electromagnetic ether of it’s rooms through a process which he called ‘site-anamnesis’. Smithson also asserted that the particularly radical and eventful — and ultimately tragic — history of the building had contributed to it’s facility for preserving and recalling the charged moments of remembrance.

Julian Cowley (The Wire magazine) review of the work.

Abi Bliss (Frieze magazine online) review of the work.


There Are Two Paths documentation still

There Are Two Paths

Two-part performance work for purpose built stage and two five piece bands, 40 mins each performance, 2003.

Two groups of musicians alternating two verses from ‘Stairway to Heaven’. The verses are played by one band, then repeated by the other band but played and sung backwards. Then the verses are played forwards again … and so on. The ‘Satanic’ phonetic accidents of the reversed song make lines such as “there is power in Satan” audible. Following the initial performance of the piece in the Shropshire countryside, the work was next performed in a Birmingham city centre square (this video cuts between the two performances). The popular myths of guitarists selling their souls to the devil in order to play the blues like no-one else. The English need to obsess about a rural ideal to pretend that the selling of their souls to the ‘dark satanic mills’ of industrialisation never happened. That kind of thing. Commissioned by Meadow Gallery/Ikon Gallery.


Flat 23 installed at Site Gallery
Flat 23 installed at Walker Art Gallery

Flat 23

Six channel sound installation for three monitors, 10 mins looped, 2002.

Doreen Hughes, a former resident of a block of flats about to be demolished, was asked to list the objects that filled three rooms in her former flat. These words were set to music and sung by a lead female voice with two-part harmony, with a multiple voice backing by the same singer. This forms the soundtrack to static video shots of the same, now empty, rooms. The listing of the hand made furniture made by Doreen’s husband Bernie, who died just as they left the flat, forms the focal point for the piece and the content of the main musical harmony. The work suggests a lament both for a human relationship and for the soon to be demolished flats, and a claim for labour as its own memorial. Originally commissioned by Further Up in the Air, Liverpool. Special thanks to Marie Therese Escritt.

Purchased in 2015 by The Arts Council Collection.

John Schofield essay referencing the work.