The Centre of Attention the centre of attention
Paul Rooney

Back to the Art Video Screening


Back to all artists


' I currently primarily work with text, video, sound and performance. I am interested in the social and personal aspects of popular entertainment, such as music, comedy and storytelling. For instance, choral music has traditionally been a way of literally uniting communities in a shared culture, but in my works involving choirs this is often contrasted by a focus on an individual, socially isolated subject, and on the subjective, ambiguous readings that music can bring to any context.

I often collaborate with people to engage with their working or leisure experiences, highlighting everyday practices, and peripheral positions, as potential sites for resistance to wider social structures. Our need to structure experience as narrative in order to gain understanding of it, and the exemplary myth like narratives that emerge from popular music and entertainment, are important aspects of some of the works.

Recent collaborations have involved setting school children's gossip to music for two singers and a chamber orchestra, the writing of a 'duet' ballad based on a call centre phone conversation, making work with a TV audience warm up man, spiritualist mediums, and residents of a tower block.

I am also expanding the live performance side of my practice, and have recently staged an opera based on Tony Hawes, the announcer of The Generation Game conveyor belt prizes, with nine musicians and performers. As a way of presenting my work I have also organised events such as The NWRA Variety Nights, showing video works and perf orming with a number of collaborators, including a choir, a gallery assistant, members of a musical society, a David Bowie impersonator and an artist performance group. '

Paul Rooney, July 2003


Paul Rooney  

above: Open Plan - Heather by Paul Rooney


below: Flat 23 - Living Room by Paul Rooney


Paul Rooney



Biography :

Paul was born in Liverpool in 1967, and trained at Edinburgh College of Art. He has had residencies at The British School at Rome, Dundee Contemporary Arts/University of Dundee VRC, and was the Tate Liverpool MOMART Fellow for 2002-2003. He is a founder member of Common Culture, who have shown at EAST and had solo shows at the Cornerhouse, Manchester and Gasworks, London.

Paul's individual practice focused from 1998 to 2000 on the music of the 'Rooney' CD's and performances, and a Radio 1FM Peel session was broadcast in October 1999. Paul now primarily works with text and video but performances and events continue to be part of his practice, and venues have included The Thread Waxing Space, New York, Ormeau Baths, Belfast, Dundee Contemporary Arts and Cubitt, London. Other recent work has been shown in Melbourne, Stockholm, Toronto, Siena, New York, Washington, St. Petersburg and Utrecht.

Recent commissions include 'Crossing Over 6' hosted by FACT; and The Whitworth Art Gallery with Manchester Camerata (chamber orchestra). Paul is currently working on projects for Grizedale and The Ikon Gallery, and is showing in a British Council show touring to Europe and South America. He is short listed for the first Comme Cå Art Prize North to be announced in 2003.


Paul Rooney  

above: Good Morning Call by Paul Rooney

Paul Rooney
Paul Rooney