Father’s Grave installed at Croxteth Hall, Liverpool

Father’s Grave

Stereo sound work with single screen video, 4 mins, 2017.

A reworking of an Edwardian variety song about a worker’s grave that has to be moved so that new drains can be laid for a rich gent’s new residence. The worker, the song goes, will haunt the toilet of the city chap in revenge ‘and only let him go’ when the worker allows him. The video uses found drain-inspection footage that could almost be depicting the journey of the worker’s lost, wretched soul back up to the surface of the world for his frightening, riotous vengeance.

The work appears on the Paul Rooney album Futile Exorcise on Owd Scrat Records.

Tessa Jackson (Constructing Connections art project newspaper). 2017 essay referencing the work.

Jessica Holtaway (Constructing Connections art project newspaper). 2017 essay referencing the work.

Bryan Biggs (Bido Lito magazine). September 2017 article referencing the work.

The original Still at Large installed at Customs House, Berwick
New Theme to Still at Large installed at Complex, Dublin

New Theme to Still at Large by The Creeping Things

Six channel sound work with single screen video, full version 11 mins, 2015-2018.

The 2015 video Still at Large was a film essay about Holy Island, northern England, presented by architecture writer Nicholas Still and directed by Paul Rooney. The film was hacked in 2018 by The Creeping Things (aka Lola de Witt-Still of Berwick-upon-Tweed and Berlin), who re-edited her own version with a new musical soundtrack, New Theme to Still at Large, imposed on top of it. Over de Witt-Still’s relentless motorik beat and analogue synths, the female voice on the new soundtrack (which de Witt-Still claims is a ‘found’ vocal recording) speaks of a disturbing male figure on the run from an unspoken crime, who is, in turn, on the hunt for something or someone. Is he aiming his threatening intent towards Nicholas Still himself? Thanks to Lola de Witt-Still, Richard Stephenson Winter and Melanie Dagg. Commissioned by Berwick Visual Arts for Berwick Film Media & Arts Festival.

A stereo version of The Creeping Things’ New Theme to Still at Large is released as a single on Owd Scrat Records.

Aidan Dunne (Irish Times). 15/2/2020 preview of the work.

“The Creeping Things. This is a compulsive, thrilling, unnerving track… it’s powerful stuff.” Verity Sharp, Late Junction (BBC Radio 3). 22/5/2018 radio broadcast of the work.

“New from the Owd Scrat label which is I think rapidly challenging Kythibong as my favourite label in the world… They’ve got a couple of new releases that are fantastic, one of them’s that one, The Creeping Things.” Mark Whitby (Dandelion Radio). May 2018 radio broadcast of the work.

“…it’ s produced by The Creeping Things, it’s a soundtrack produced for a film, as an alternative soundtrack to the one that’s actually there…” Roger Hill, PMS (BBC Radio Merseyside). 12/3/2018 radio broadcast of the work.

Chris Sharratt (A-N website). 30/9/2015 review of the work.

“…a short, beautiful and disturbing film…” David Whetstone (The Journal). 26/9/2015 review of the work.

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. Commissioned by Durham Art Gallery.

Purchased in 2015 by The Arts Council Collection.

Natasha Lamb (Natasha Lamb blog). 28/11/2012 article referencing the work.

Laura Davis (Metro). 12/10/2012 review of the work.

Mark Sheerin (Culture24 website). 19/10/2010 review of the work.

Bellevue Holiday at Exeter Specex (ArtsCulture website). 2/10/2010 article referencing the work.

The Futurist installed at Durham Art Gallery
The Futurist production still

The Futurist

Single screen video with stereo sound, 25 mins, 2008.

In a dark, apparently derelict Liverpool cinema, Tony, an amateur comedian and gumshoe detective, chats with other comics in the ticket queue and the bar. He talks of his recent visits to his past life regression therapist, and tells some of the jokes he has written about it. At various points the other male and female comics in the cinema relay messages to Tony from an unknown and unseen man who is trying to contact him. There is clearly something unpleasant that Tony has stumbled on at some time in his past, something that he is impelled to uncover further, despite the risks. Will Tony’s past catch up with him before he does? Thanks to MUCK collective, Tony Schumacher, Alexandra Jones and Kai-Oi Jay Yung. Commissioned by Tate Liverpool.

Purchased in 2012 by the Victoria Gallery and Museum with funds from The Contemporary Art Society.

Tony Schumacher (The Futurist Cinema website). 2013 essay about filming the work.

Laura Davis (Metro). 12/10/2012 review of the work.

Alex Hetherington (A-N website). 4/2/2009 review of the work.

Sue Hubbard (The Independent). 6/1/2009 review of the work.

Robert Clark (The Guardian). 13/12/2008 preview of the work.

Lost High Street installed at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Lost High Street production still

Lost High Street

Stereo sound work with single screen VHS video, 11 mins, 2008.

Post-punk spoken word paranoia soundtracks a VHS tourist video. The tourist is on an open-top bus tour around Edinburgh, pointing out the sights, unsure of his own past life, mixing what he thinks are his own memories with misheard fragments of the tour guide’s spiel. The narrative eventually takes a bleak turn as it is revealed that the tourist could be stuck forever on a tour that never stops, an endless series of circuits around a city that may be the capital of a disturbing foreign empire in the grip of cold-war paranoia. The tourist fears he may be dead, killed by the empire’s security forces because of an act of espionage he has unwittingly committed. This means, he thinks (though he is never sure of any of this), that he is now condemned to repeat his final act, the filming of a bus-top tourist video, in a blossom filled, sun-drenched city, forever. Thanks to Jenny Richardson, Jackie Kerr and Hank Williams. Commissioned by Collective Gallery.

The work appears on the Paul Rooney album Futile Exorcise on Owd Scrat Records.

William Sheridan (The Last Great Record blog). 22/12/2018 review of the work.

Dandelion Radio Festive Fifty of 2017 (Lost High Street reached number 1).

Neil Cooper (MAP magazine #15). Sept. 2008 review of the work.

James Clegg (Art Review magazine). Sept. 2008 review of the work.

“…Lost High Street consists of the rather wayward observations and autobiographical musings of a loner sitting at the back of an open-top bus as it tours Edinburgh. Rooney empathises and charms us into feeling the subjectivity of his protagonists. Who else but him could achieve such deep pathos with such down-to-earth subjects, methods and materials?” Robert Clark (The Guardian). 14/6/2008 preview of the work.

Martin Vincent (Metro). 9/6/2008 review of the work.

La Décision Doypack installed at Storey Gallery
La Décision Doypack production still

La Décision Doypack

Stereo sound work with single screen 16mm film (also text only version), 27 mins, 2008.

The work is inspired by a real web memoir by a retired Australian food-packaging company manager, Mackenzie J. Gregory, who remembers walking the night-time streets of Paris during the turbulent events of May 1968. The dominant monologue of the work — which is accompanied by rock music, sound effects and 16mm film images of drama students awkwardly ‘acting out’ the narrative — extends Gregory’s memoir into fiction, playing with contradictory writing styles, from consumer product description to romantic poetry. It is partly because of this connection with real life and real events that the work’s imaginative confabulation and formal artifice is thrown into relief, underlining the melancholy comedy of our attempts to do justice to the past. Thanks to John Eastman. Commissioned by Radar and Matt’s Gallery.

Skye Sherwin (The Guardian). 13/2/2009 preview of the work.

JJ Charlesworth (Art Review magazine). July/Aug 2008 review of the work.

Coline Milliard (Modern Painters magazine). July/Aug 2008 review of the work.

“The success of this piece is underscored by Rooney’s ability to maintain an analytical perspective as maker, for he appears to flirt with but never actually fall for the charms of his chosen media.” Rebecca Geldard (Time Out magazine). 12/5/2008 review of the work.

Jessica Lack (The Guardian). 19/4/2008 preview of the work.