Genevieve Murphy: I Don’t Want To Be An Individual All On My Own

Interview: "My work is not about me"

from: Sophie Smeets, Mister Motley, 30 sep 2020


By Sophie Smeets

Scottish composer, artist and performer Genevieve Murphy is fascinated by the human psyche. Obsessive-compulsive disorders, self-destruction, insecurity and fear are recurring themes in her absurdist performances on the cutting edge of music, theater and the visual arts.

This spring, her new piece I Don't Want to be an Individual All on my Own was to premiere during the SPRING Performing Arts Festival in Utrecht: a performance about why we form emotional bonds with each other, about how we behave towards others when we cannot predict their response and about our empathy at a time when communication is increasingly taking place online. During the autumn edition of the festival, the artist will perform the performance, but in a different form than originally planned. I'm speaking to Genevieve on Zoom about the topic she's exploring in this latest work: empathy.

S: You were in the middle of the making process for the performance I Don't Want to be an Individual all on my Own when it was announced that all theaters were closing. How has the situation affected the work?

G: “My original idea for SPRING was that it would be a mix between a sound system and a performance. When it became clear that the piece could not be performed for the time being, I started to think about how I could shape the story through sound only. Even now that I know that there will be live performances of the piece, it still is mainly a sound piece. 'Going out' has changed radically. There are plenty of people today who are still not able to go anywhere. Sound is a great solution: you can also experience it at home, but at the same time it can really transport you to other places.
"I once saw a work in which headphones were used and then I experienced that sound can generate a lot of intimacy. I also want to convey that feeling of intimacy to the audience. Besides everyone wearing headphones, I also work with a binaural microphone: a microphone that creates the illusion that you are in the room where it is being recorded. For example, you feel someone standing behind you or you hear children running around your chair. Through sound I want to evoke the scenery that I would have used in other circumstances. ”

[Read the rest of the interview here. ] (