Imagine the scenes from a Georgian Courthouse, Listen to the cries of a child in the dock, Hear the shouts from the Public Gallery.
Come along to Stolen Things by artist and musician Paul Rooney - a new artwork commissioned by Ripon Museums and Arts and Heritage.
Artist and musician Paul Rooney has installed a surround sound artwork in the historic Ripon courthouse space, focussing on the ‘voice’ of a former defendant accused of shoplifting in 1853, 14 year old Ann Lupton. The work’s spoken and sung words and sounds are created using a variety of quoted sources, ‘stolen’ sources if you will, including: the childhood memories of Ripon Museums' volunteers Moira Smith and Kath Beeken, the chords of the Taylor Swift song ‘I Did Something Bad’, the Jean Genet novel ‘The Thief’s Journal’, a York Herald court report, and a Victorian children’s hymn from the period, ‘Do No Sinful Action’, that Ann may have sung herself. It is as if Ann’s hymn singing, shoplifting spirit has returned to us, but on the way has picked up a liking for the idea of thieving as liberation, and for the lyrical honesty of contemporary pop music. Her voice, sung by local girl, provides the focal point for a sound composition that invokes the shouts of the courtroom public gallery (with voices provided by more of the Museum volunteers), contemporary pop diva phrasing, and Victorian church singing (Highside Singers), and which builds to a rowdy evocation of some liberatory mischief involving choir practice and a malfunctioning bellows organ.
Venue: Courthouse Museum, Ripon, 9th February – 31st May 2019. Entry to Stolen Things is included in the usual museum entrance fee. The Courthouse Museum is open 7 days a week 1pm - 4pm and 10am - 4pm during school holidays.
Paul Rooney is a Liverpool-based artist who creates music using words, often exploring the themes of music, myth, memory and place. Paul has been commissioned by organisations such as Tate Liverpool and The Drawing Room, has made artworks during residencies at places such as DCA, Dundee and University of Oxford/Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, and has exhibited internationally including in Mexico City and Shanghai. Paul was the winner of the second Northern Art Prize in 2008 and two of his video installations were purchased for the Arts Council Collection in 2015.