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Not I: An Installation by Neil Jordan
8 August - 9 September 2012, the Annex, IMMA @ NCH at Earlsfort Terrace
Neil Jordan, Not I, 2000, an adaptation for film of the play Not I, 1972 by Samuel Beckett, directed by Neil Jordan, produced by Blue Angel Films. 6 screen installation with sound. 12 mins, Dimensions variable, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Donation, 2000. Production still by Pat Redmond, © Company of Wolves Éire Ltd, Co. Dublin
This unique film-based installation, directed by Neil Jordan and featuring the American actress Julianne Moore, is based on Samuel Beckett's play Not I, 1972. Not I presents an actress seated on a stage with just her mouth visible. The mouth then delivers a long monologue, a constant stream of consciousness. Beckett’s friend, and one of his favourite interpreters of his work, Billie Whitelaw recalled her performance of the original work: “I defy anyone to come up with a more intense theatrical experience than Samuel Beckett’s Not I. In otherwise complete darkness, a disembodied female mouth, known as Mouth, about eight feet above the stage, delivers a hyper-rapid stream of consciousness, a mixture of reminiscence and evasion, an existentially terrifying babble, hinting at deep trauma and extinction of self”.
Neil Jordan filmed his interpretation, which is 13 minutes in duration, from multiple angles in long, complete, 13-minute takes, since the piece only reveals itself through the pressure and physical demands of the uninterrupted performance of the text. Realising that each take had its own integrity Jordan developed his original film version into a multi-screen installation in which Moore’s mouth appears on six screens arranged in a circular configuration. For this installation while the artwork maintains its essentially circular configuration, the scale of the Annex, enables the use of especially large screens to create an enhanced, spatially immersive experience.
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