James King and Peter O'Doherty

words, presence, traces

words, presence, traces

artist residency November 2021

performance 25 November 7-8pm

with public rehearsal from 12 noon

James King and Peter O'Doherty

words, presence, traces

James King and Peter O’Doherty will create a new piece of work during their residency at Art Arcadia at St. Augustine’s Old School house. The essence of the artists’ work is collaborative voice experimentation. Drawing upon computer-generated texts and unorthodox writing which is deconstructed in performance, the residency will conclude with an immersive sound installation.

The residency period will be spent preparing materials and honing ideas for a day-long immersive sound installation and a concluding performance on 25 November. Some of these preparatory activities will be performative, at St. Augustine’s Old Schoolhouse or in the vicinity. The concluding performance will take the form of a structured ritualised process interjected with aural diversions, including improvisations with sound and voices. Visitors are welcome to stay for the whole performance, to share in the experience of a developing process, or to come and go and enjoy something of value from short episodes.

This project continues the pair’s exploration of textual manipulation, sound poetry and vocal performance.

James King is a Derry-based performance artist. He retired as a Lecturer in Community Drama at the University of Ulster in 2004, after thirty years in post. He specialised in systems or forms of social and community drama, including Playback Theatre, Action Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed and Environmental Theatre Processes. Integral to these forms were improvisation and group interaction. Throughout these years he also engaged in Agit prop Street Theatre, Clowning and experimental street events. Since retirement he continued with much of this activity including Street Art performance, conference performances of Action Theater in relation to social issues and spontaneous cabaret performances. For five years he performed sound poetry and spoken word improvisations at open mic sessions locally and nationally. This fed into an evolving Performance Art practice, which was nurtured by the performance art collective, Bbeyond Belfast, particularly during their monthly group performance events, which are held in public outdoor spaces and galleries. He helped establish a local tributary of Bbeyond, BBDB which makes weekly group performances in Derry until the start of the Covid pandemic. Since then he runs a weekly Zoom happening in conjunction with Bbeyond. He and Peter O’Doherty have formed a mutually-enriching working relationship, focusing upon text-based and spontaneous vocal explorations.

Peter O’Doherty is a Derry-based composer and sound artist. He makes work for and with human performers, computers and (sound) objects. His work often deals with memory, time, language and the relationship between text, code and gesture. His music and sound works have been performed in Ireland, Scotland, the former Yugoslavia, Finland and The Netherlands. and his texts published in several publications, including Found Poetry Review. Since 2016 he has been director of Northern Lights Project, a Derry-based organisation he founded to promote new music and since 2019 has jointly curated with Rob Casey (Ulster University) “Derry Sound Factory”, a monthly experimental music series. He performs regularly as part of an improvisation duo with performance artist James King, most recently in June 2019 (“Disembodied Voices”, at St. Augustine’s Old Schoolhouse, Derry) and as a solo performer in March 2019 (“Strategies for be(com)ing a body”, Flax Art Studios, Belfast).

This residency is in partnership with St Augustine’s Heritage Site and is funded by Derry City & Strabane District Council and The Community Foundation NI.


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