The Dowager Marchylove uses her notoriety and flair for excess to bring attention to sonic ecology, the music of walking, the excavation of memory, and the crossmediation of sound, text, and image. Known for employing a wide variety of performative, compositional, aesthetic, and theoretical approaches, the Dowager’s catholic tastes expose themselves in sound poetry, fashion, photography, music, installations, objects and more confrontational practices such as engagements, situations, and interventions. The Dowager has made her name bending rules and shattering expectations, working tirelessly to remind people that ìthe beauty is in the breaking.î
The Dowager Marchylove erupted full-grown from the forehead of Archbishop Fiachra Trixibelle Proust in 1998, blossoming into the world like a gleaming ivory flower and bringing with her a bad, bad love for all the dirty ones. She got her start taking naughty pictures and has since progressed to naughty sounds. One of the most successful alter egos used by the multimedia performance artist Niall Quinlan, the Dowager opens up paradoxes of liminality and identity at the same time as she transgresses boundaries of time and space. Niall Quinlan was born in 1978 and graduated from Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design, and Technology in 2000, with a degree in Visual Arts Practice. He began his career as artist working in photography and performance art, most notably with transgressive radical lesbian artist Jilly McGee in the duo DUL AMACH, where the Dowager Marchylove first made her appearance known. Quinlan continues to explore image, identity, and performance through a variety of ìpersonalitiesî to this day.
The Dowagers works have been performed at Soundeye Poetry Festival (Cork, Ireland), VOX Festival (Vancouver, Canada), Heritage Festival at the Sirius Arts Centre (Cobh, Ireland), Coulorscape Music Festival (London, England), and elsewhere. Her photography, text, sound, and sculptural installations have been exhibited at Tallaght Community Arts Centre (Tallaght, Ireland), Parochialkirche Klostertrasse (Berlin, Germany), Catalyst Arts (Belfast, Northern Ireland), Art/Not Art (Edinburgh, Scotland), and Roscommon Arts Centre (Roscommon, Ireland). She has held residencies at Cit_ des Artes (Paris, France) and the Mobile Academy (Warsaw, Poland), and won the ìBest Newcomer Awardî as DUL AMACH (with Jilly McGee) in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2002 and the ìMedia Poetry Prizeî at the 2006 Biennale Internationale des Po_tes en Val-de-Marne. She has also won ìBest Handwritingî (2005), ìBest Home-made Swiss Rollî (2003), ìBest Child_s Matinee Coatî (2002), ìBest Photograph Featuring Waterî (1999), and ìBest Tweed Pictureî (1999) at the Virginia Show (Cavan, Ireland).
Some of the Dowager’s more notable works include Flaneur du Klang, Music for Eight 10 Year-Olds, It’s Not You, It’s Me, Oh! Tom Cruise!, Want to Believe, Float, The Pale, Made LOVE Not WAR tuba, Six (in), You May Wish To Linger, and You Kiss Your Mother With Those Lips. The Dowager lives in Dublin with her many, many cats.
Violetta Mahon presents a complex, ambivalent figure: a profoundly private artist, her most important works are holy grottoes built as her own form of public art. Situated in fields, along roads, and half-hidden among various rural and urban landscapes, Mahon’s holy grottoes present themselves as deeply personal expressions of folk art impulses, as if she were speaking her own invented words but in our common tongue. The strange blend of uncanniness and familiarity that evinces itself in Mahon’s work develops out of her abiding concern with symbols, dreams, the unconscious, religion, spirituality, and alternative languages. Mahon_s artistic vision encompasses a heterogeneous spirituality, using religious symbology from around the world, absorbing it all into her own intuitive visionary structure and transforming the exotic into the personal, the banal into the wondrous.
Born in 1976 in Dublin, Violetta Mahon graduated from University College Dublin in 1998 with a BA in Celtic Studies. Mahon has struggled with spiritual and psychological crises throughout her life, and as a result has always been a reclusive and solitary artist, devoting herself wholeheartedly to her artistic vision without showing much concern for exposing her work to a wider public or for promoting artistic career. After graduating from college she worked a series of jobs, including phone-operator at a suicide hotline, caregiver at a home for adults with Down’s Syndrome, labourer on an organic farm, and postal worker. Her unique, innovative work went unrecognized and relegated to the realm of roadside oddities and second-hand shops until a chance meeting with Flor Hartigan brought her into the artist_s collective known as Grúpat. Since then, represented by Hartigan and the other members of Gr_pat, Mahan has seen interest in her work flourish. Although she herself refuses to partake in the professional aspects of her artistic career, her work speaks for itself.
Mahon’s work can be seen in situ at numerous sites throughout South Dublin County, and has been exhibited at The Stone Gallery, Monster Truck, Pallas Studios in Dublin, The Model Arts & Niland Gallery in Sligo, The Crawford Arts Center in Cork and Denniston Hill in New York, and can also be found in private collections. Her work has been reviewed in Wire, Artforum, Diagram, Signal to Noise, and elsewhere. She shows almost exclusively with other artists from Gr_pat.
Mahon currently lives in Dublin, where she works as a delivery driver. She eschews publicity and personal appearances, preferring to insulate herself and her artistic practice from commercial concerns. She is represented by Flor Hartigan.
Detleva Verens works to explore the spatialization of sound and the sonorousness of space. She considers the cybernetic systems operating in natural phenomena and the chaotic nature of complex technological systems. Verens operates in the paradoxical, liminal, and microscopic. Often working with acoustic micro-sounds, she is interested in the deployment of non-musical organizational structures. According to Verens, music doesn’t merely have a shape but shapes the world. She says the two most important events in her life were examples of music that changed the world we live in: the Singing Revolution, the series of spontaneous mass demonstrations of singing all over Estonia, from 1987 to 1991, that ended in Estonia’s winning its independence from Soviet Russia; and “Everybody,” Estonia’s winning entry into the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest, performed by Tanel Padar, Dave Benton and 2XL, which was the first Eurovision win by a former member of the USSR and also the first grand prize win by a black performer. Detlava Verens considers herself working in the tradition of revolutionary Estonian musical power.
Born in 1977 in Tartu, Estonia, Detlava Verens studied information technology at the Tallinn University of Technology, receiving her MS in 2002 with a specialization in cybernetics, phonetics, and speech technology. She was also in 2002 awarded the ALEA Composition Prize for her piece, Ad Astra Per Aspera, which convinced her to shift her focus from academic research in cybernetics to artistic experimentation. Since then, Verens has worked to explore the spatiality of sound, the confluence of technology, vocality, and the natural world, micro-sounds and micro-scapes, and cybernetic approaches to music. She moved to Ireland in 2004.
Her works have been performed by groups including Black Hair, Ensemble Klang, KNM Berlin, Champ d’Action, Gr_pat, and Concorde. Installations and projects of hers have been commissioned by South Dublin County Council, ZKM Center for Art and Media (Germany), Catalyst Arts (Northern Ireland), Darklight (Dublin), and the Museum of Timi_oara (Romania). She has held residencies at Europos Parkas (Lithuania), the Hungarian Multiculture Centre (Hungary), and Yaddo (USA).
Ukeoirn O’Connor works in what he calls ìthe mix of it all,î blending a rigorous concern for ethnomusicology with a deft improvisational approach into a practice of composition and performance that seeks to bring the multicultural tensions and energies of an increasingly globalized world into a musical dynamism that looks at the same time back and ahead, across the world and right at home, inside, outside, even upside down. He is a composer and musician who started his career drawing pictures. He is a hard-working improviser known for his innovative scores. O_Connor works to explode the definitions he finds himself struggling with, like Irish, Japanese, composer, performer, experimental, and traditional, in the attempt to blend and mix things not into a bland monocultural pap but rather a lively, complex relation.
Born in 1972 in Dublin, Ireland, Ukeoirn O’Connor studied Fine Arts at the National College of Art and Design, graduating in 1995. He began his artistic career as a painter and visual artist, but after meeting Flor Hartigan he realized that his lifelong love for music could be explored in a much more innovative and interesting way than he_d previously realized. He started playing, improvising, and composing experimental music and never looked back. O_Connor tends to work with extended vocal techniques, rhythmic drone structures, and scratch tones, and is keenly interested in exploring intercultural musical collaboration and confluence.
O’Connor is a prolific composer and performer, active in both Irish and international circles. He regularly improvises and performs with a variety of groups and musicians, including Oh! Number, C’ca Mil’s, Kenta Nagoro, Caoimh’n Murch’, Slavek Kwi, Chris Forsyth, and X-Tract. His work has been commissioned by the South Dublin County Council, the Sligo New Music Festival, the Bozzini Quartet, the Dublin Fringe Festival, and Apartment House, among others, and has been performed at the Kilkenny Arts Festival (Ireland), the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), the International Contemporary Music Festival (Vilnius, Lithuania), and elsewhere. He has held residencies at Bord Bia (Berlin, Germany) and the Skellig Arts Centre (Ireland). He has received grants and awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, the Fingal County Council, and Culture Ireland.
Some of O’Connor’s most recent works include Three Songs, bipbipbipbipbidilee bam bam, ìohno!î at last, wandering, NOW.YOU.GO., and TETSUOROURKE. He currently lives in Rathfarnam and works as a forester for Coillte Teoranta.
Turf Boon works as a sculptor, sound artist, and musician. Over the last decade, Turf Boon has created over 40 sound installations and sculptures, focusing on building innovative, spatially and sonically provocative pieces from found and recycled items. He is concerned with turning the detritus of society into sustainable artistic practice, and in bringing to everything he does a global and local attention to the textures and sounds of what we throw away or ignore. His ìFreeganî approach is rigorous and all-encompassing: ìI don’t buy materials,î he says, ìI_ve never bought materials. I use what_s there.î
Born in 1971 in Wicklow, Ireland, Turf Boon studied sculpture at the Glasgow School of Art. After graduating, Boon straightaway began creating works. His first fame was made as a guerilla sculptor, creating unsanctioned sculptures in public places, including the noted series Public Werkers. This soon developed into commissioned work, especially at concerts, festivals, and in Dublin_s underground techno scene. His interest in the placed mutability of sonic structures led him more and more to build sound and music into his work, and to explore the promise of sound itself. Many of his works suggest sound rather than instantiating it, provoking explorations of expectation and intent.
His works have been exhibited at the Dran_cht Arts Centre (Blanchardstown, Ireland), the Project Arts Centre (Dublin, Ireland), the Tulca Arts Festival (Galway, Ireland), Eigenart (Berlin, Germany), Darklight (Dublin), Living Music (Dublin), Wien Modern (Austria), Abstract Adventures (Brussels), and Soundfield (Philadelphia, USA). He has held residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annamakerrigh (Ireland) and at the Headlands Center for the Arts (California, USA). He has been commissioned by Rhizome, South Dublin County Council, and others.
Boon’s most recent works include Kir#73astria, 5 23 16, Kultscheltiermarimbaphon, Shoepipes, The Sacred Geometries, the Community Choir Series, and The Softest Music in the World. He lives in Lucan, where he offers workshops on organic farming and building straw bale houses.