‘N(I)B’, 2011. HD Projection, duration 56:34.
‘N(I)B’ is a video portrait of Nicholas Bullen, a musician, sound artist and founding member of Grindcore band Napalm Death, a band whose intensely political songs condensed the human voice into primal, guttural screams. The Napalm Death song You Suffer from the Scum album of 1987 is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the shortest recorded song ever, its duration being less than two seconds. It actually contains the lyrics ‘You suffer’ but why but these are barely indecipherable beneath what sounds like an emotive, desperate scream.
N (I) B is a silent, large scale projection in which we are presented with a close up shot of Bullen’s mouth as he performs a work written by the artist. This work combines a list of LGA banned words transformed through the use of a Gematria calculator which gives numerical values to words and phrases. The values of the banned words have been calculated and matched with other words and phrases of the same value. The film footage is slowed down to an extreme degree revealing the minute muscle movements that produce sound. The title, N (I) B refers to the Black Sabbath song of the same name (purported to stand for Nativity in Black) and to Billie Whitelaw’s performance of ‘Not I’ by Samuel Beckett . In this seminal work, the actress is filmed reciting a work with the camera focusing exclusively on the movement of her lips, teeth and tongue. In N (I) B, the sound is removed completely.
(Text from Exhibition Guide)
Installed at Andy Holden’s ‘Boulder Stage, Wysing Arts Centre.