Monument Piece

for Kirkos Ensemble

Monuments commemorate notable people or events. This piece is a monument to commemorate ten years of Kirkos. It’s also a bit like a concerto for Tom Roseingrave. During the performance a video is projected directly onto Tom’s face while he sits on top of a step ladder, as though it’s a pedestal. He doesn’t move very much during the performance. He is like a statue – a musical statue (remember that game?). His musical contribution, much like for the rest of the ensemble who accompany him, is inspired by A Song For Margrit (1997) by Pauline Oliveros. Hers is a piece that uses the noises coming from the audience as they cough or shift in their seats as musical cues or triggers, whereas this takes cues from the video soundtrack.

The video projection on Tom’s face is like a mask and is made from a video of an old piano harp that I thought resembled a mask. I had an old piano in my parents’ shed that I’d collected so I could perform a new version of my piano destruction piece Piano Recital (2011). But the piano had been outside too long and the keys had warped. It was taking up room in the shed so my dad and brother had taken it apart ready to throw it away. When I visited them in the spring I videoed my hand hitting the piano strings with a pencil early one morning. The music of the out-of-tune piano strings mingled with the sounds of dogs barking and birds tweeting in the garden.

My work has sometimes been described as iconoclastic. Iconoclasm in history sometimes involved people striking the faces of statues to disfigure them. The video mask gives the impression that Tom is being struck in the face with a pencil in an iconoclastic gesture. But I don’t really think my work is iconoclastic at all, and Tom’s face remains undamaged during the piece.

“A rich and intriguing piece, thoughtfully evoking the uncomfortable relationship we have to monuments of all sorts (including festivals)”

James Camien McGuiggan, The Journal of Music


31 July 2022, Unit 44, Dublin