KIRKOS ➀ is a new music group from Dublin, Ireland, as well as the operator of UNIT 44 ➁ —a DIY venue in Stoneybatter with a radically open approach to programming.
We focus on trying to develop the ecosystem that thrives at the fringes of Irish new music and high-concept performances ➂.
Threading the line between experimental music and contemporary classical music ➂, we rarely do straightforward concerts, preferring to incorporate every part of the audience’s experience into our thinking about music.
Work devised collaboratively and influences from theatre, visual art and performance art are a big part of what we do.
Unit 44 is part of a DIY movement making up for the appalling lack of affordable cultural space available in our city. Booking ➃ is open to artists from all genres and backgrounds, and we try to give the space away for free wherever possible.
Since 2012, Kirkos have given 200 premieres, encompassing most of Ireland’s leading composers. As a young ensemble, we are most proud of our work with newly emerging composers, and has given many irish composers their fist performances and commisions.
Past highlights include:
- For Private Use: an online magazine, a collection of about 40 pieces created by Kirkos and 8 commissioned composers, all designed to be performed by audience members on their own terms. Available to use here.
- Music for Cranes: a site-specific, collaboratively composed performance created for the Dublin Fringe Festival, using the motif of the crane as a starting point for a reflection on the Dublin being built for our generation right now.
- Biosphere: free, outdoor-based experimental encounters. Radical works exploring our relationship with dublin’s natural and built environment as we confront the climate crisis.
- The Irish premiere of Yannis Kyriakides’ immersive opera The Buffer Zone, a study on separation which divides the audience in two parts and offers each half a different perspective on the action, a kind of abstraction of the demilitarised zone in Cyprus and of borders everywhere.
- A 2019/20 series of low-key DIY concerts making use of a temporary working space to facilitate creative concert ideas from musicians who do not have access to established venues in Dublin.
- Listening Bodies: a durational marathon co-production with the experimental choir Tonnta, taking over Smock Alley for five hours.
- Speaking of Music: a collaboration with guest-curator Andy Ingamells, loosely exploring experimental music and performance art that connects with text in innovative ways
- Body Noise Work: a landmark series of residential interdisciplinary workshops led by Jennifer Walshe, followed by a Happening in Temple Bar Gallery.
- Fluxfest: an intermedia happening exploring the Fluxus movement, incorporating over 30 works, with props including black paint, gravel and naked bodies, immersing the audience in a ‘boundaryless environment of continuous art which would seamlessly overlap’.
- Blackout: highly theatrical concerts in almost complete darkness, comprising chamber masterpieces and new solo works written in response, matched with experimental food, funded by over 80 people through FundIt.
- On the 100th anniversary of the Rite of Spring’s premiere, Kirkos unveiled a new version re-imagined for string trio and live electronic ballet, co-composed by fourteen Irish composers.