Dennis McNulty – in residence at Errant Bodies / October
developing his project: “In a room”
“In a room” is a framework for a sound performance in which a recorded text is subjected to a series of improvised manipulations, pitting language against the fabric of the performance space to slowly reveal its perceptual conditions. The performance takes place in a large dark reverberant space and begins with a short scripted voice recording which is played from beginning to end. Following this, the recording is manipulated by a seated performer using audio processing software running on a hidden computer, which they operate via a control-surface resting on their lap. The performer determines when the piece should end.
“In a room” borrows its sound manipulation techniques from two key twentieth century compositions by US composers; I am sitting in a room by Alvin Lucier and Imaginary Landscape No. 4 by John Cage. Although they are scored, as is usual in the Western classical tradition, they both employ the potential for spatio-temporal distortion inherent in certain media technologies to create works which are either space-specific, in the case of Lucier, or location and time-specific, in the case of Cage.
Dennis McNulty’s work is generated through an investigation of embodied knowledge in relation to other forms of knowledge, in the context of the built environment. Beginning with detailed research of various kinds, and informed by his studies in psychoacoustics, the works often take hybrid forms, drawing on aspects of cinema, sculpture, sound and performance.
Past projects include PRECAST, Poplar, London (2012); Another Construction, Irish Museum of Modern Art (2011); The Eyes of Ayn Rand, Performa 11 (2011); and http://alpha60.info, São Paulo Bienal (2004). He is represented by Green On Red, Dublin.