(1) For Private Use
(3) 10th Anniversary
An experimental anthology to help you hear, see and taste your environment in new ways, and redefine what you mean by the word performance.
Confused? Browse the pieces below, find the ones that interest you the most: and figure out how to perform them!
We miss performing! We've been enjoying live streams and all the opportunities they bring to hear music from from friends and strangers across the globe, but being in a room together can't be replicated by transmissions into our kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, earphones.
We thought about what exactly we were missing: the intimacy of warm bodies soaking up the same vibrations, breathing the same dust and smelling the same sweat; the journeys to a concert - all different, but loaded with the same expectation and excitement; the total focus of occupying a darkened room, feeling almost alone with the performers.
We wondered whether there were other ways to find these shared experiences without being in the same space. Last year, the producer and DJ Robbie Kitt released No Handers, an hour-long mix designed to be played through a small speaker tied to your bike as you cycle through Dublin; around the same time, we started reading and discussing Kenneth Maue's Water in the Lake, a book of pieces designed to be performed alone or in a group with no audience. These ideas mingled in our heads as we entered lockdowns 2 and 3....
Together, they suggested a way forward: we can't be in the same room together, but we can find other ways to share a listening context and a special experience–and we can privilege the private act of performing a piece only for yourself. So, we have For Private Use, an anthology partly devised by Kirkos, and partly composed by a set of wonderful artists commissioned to make micro-pieces by Kirkos and New Music Dublin. It also includes a few existing works which helped inspire our ideas.
The common theme is that no piece is complete: everything on this page needs something extra in order to become whole. This ingredient is your active participation (yes, you!), as audience member and performer.
For us, reframing “performance” as an act that is private and DIY is a radical change of perspective:
YOU DON'T NEED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL TO BE A PERFORMER; IF YOU'RE A PERFORMER, YOU DON'T NEED AN AUDIENCE TO PERFORM.
TIPS FOR PERFORMERS
THE PIECES BELOW ARE NOT STREAMED LIVE. YOU CAN COME BACK AND PERFORM THEM ANY TIME, AND OF COURSE YOU CAN MAKE MISTAKES AND YOU CAN BREAK THE RULES: NOBODY IS WATCHING!
Some of them are audio or video, often with instructions attached or embedded into the files; others are simply texts. We’ve tried to make everything as clear as possible. You can perform many or all of the pieces, or you can just pick your favourite. You can use the page however you want but we like the idea of scrolling at random until something catches your eye (or ear!).
Everything here works as a solo performance you can do on your own, but you could also try them in groups or even in public (as long as you aren’t too shy). You don’t need specialist equipment to take part, and a curious outlook will be much more helpful than any kind of musical training!
We encourage you not to stop at reading: these pieces are all designed to be actively engaged with. Part of the experience of these works can be enjoyed purely by reading and thinking, but it really becomes something else when you put it into practice!
Some of the pieces are quite vague: you can use your imagination, and you might feel it’s impossible to take a piece literally - that’s OK.
On the flipside, for pieces which are specific and detailed, it's wise to do your best to follow the instructions carefully and as well as you can, because the composer probably used their words with a lot of intention.
AND PLEASE REMEMBER: IT’S OK TO FAIL! NO ONE IS WATCHING YOU, AND EVEN PERFORMANCES THAT DON’T SEEM TO WORK CAN LEAD TO WORTHWHILE EXPERIENCES.
You can get in touch with us: if you can't figure out what to do, or you want to know more about a piece or a composer, or if we have absolutely ruined your Sunday morning, we would love to hear from you on Instagram (@kirkos_ensemble) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) - or you can leave a comment below.
We’ve also included links to some of the work that has informed us at the very end of the page, in case we have piqued your interest.