I Just Called now live online

See full press release here

Everybody’s plans and habits have been chewed up and spat out by Covid19.

For artist Colin Woods that means completely reassessing his work I Just Called.

“It’s no longer feasible to have visitors to an exhibition pick up a handset and listen to the pieces,” he says, “because the handsets are potentially vectors for transmission of pathogenic organisms, particularly as they involve hand contact and are then brought into close proximity to the face.

“At the same time, the pandemic has made us more aware of the importance of communication and connectedness, so I feel that the work is more important than ever.”

Woods’ solution has been to move the work online, as a browser-based interface that is optimised for smartphones. [see ijustcalled.online]

I Just Called is a series of voice recordings, of people pretending to make a phone call to a loved one. The anonymous callers’ words are unscripted and devoid of context,  but the result is very affecting for the listener.

“This piece plays with the dynamic between intimacy and voyeurism,” Woods says. “We hear people saying heartfelt and private things to ones they love. By agreeing to be recorded for the work, they have given us permission to listen, but still there is a sense that we might be intruding – and that’s both delicious and slightly uncomfortable!

“I’m fascinated by humans and the theatre we perform as we all go about our daily activities.”

Colin will still be seeking to collect more content for the work – with strict social distancing measures to protect himself and participants.

NEW RELEASE: That Which Separates

That Which Separates is a collection of the soundtracks from three recent video works by the composer which respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on those of us in Aotearoa New Zealand. References include the spooky paucity of activity on his local streets, the increased pain of separation from loved ones, and a meditation on our heightened sense of mortality.

The EP is available for purchase on Bandcamp or can be streamed on all the major platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Tidal.  

the trees that touched the sun

“These are the trees that touched the sun,
Winter trees with leaves undone.”

At last, a little piece of work inspired by the recent trip to Ireland. I was on the bus from Belfast to Dublin Airport on my way to catch my flight back to New Zealand. I was mentally exhausted and drifting in and out of that hypnagogic liminal space between awake and dozing. Gazing out the dirty window, I saw the winter tress silhouetted against the setting sun. They looked burnt – semi vaporised by the solar onslaught.  I pressed my phone against the window and recorded a snatch of video to remind me. This is the result. Soundtrack is processed saxophone against stacked sine tones and the original video sound of the bus.

Braid Gabs- an Ulster Scots Culture project

Project outline

  • A video installation that explores Ulster Scots culture from the perspective of the individual participants
  • An intersection of documentary, art, autoethnography, and social history


Braid Gabs, is a play on words. “Braid”, in Ulster Scots, has the meaning “wide” or “broad” but, in standard English, it also implies a set of woven strands, as in a rope that gains strength from the binding together of its individual elements. 

This project will seek to sample a range of views on the nature and situation of Ulster Scots culture. For me, Ulster Scots culture is about so much more than marching bands, murals and Ullans poetry. It is that very stuff that communicates who we are from generation to generation. It is also a living thing, not static, not fossilized. This work will attempt to present that vitality and allow us to step outside our social media echo-chambers.


The same initial questions will be asked of all participants, but supplementary questions may be asked during the interview process at the discretion of the artist. The questions are designed to be as open as possible.

  • What is Ulster Scots culture now?
  • How do you think has it changed since the late 20thcentury and before that?
  • What effect has the influx of new migrant communities into Ireland had on it? (or for diaspora cohort: What effect has immersion in a new environment had on your Ulster Scots culture?)
  • Where is our culture heading?
  • What are the main issues that need to be addressed to ensure the culture endures?

Ethical issues

Participants must be over the age of 18 and be aware of the nature and scope of the project. They will also be required to sign a release form allowing their contribution to be used in this and potentially further artworks. They can opt to be identified or remain anonymous. Interviews will be conducted at a place of special significance to the participant, or in a studio environment.  The artist will not edit any participant’s contribution in a way that misrepresents their views but reserves the right to remove content that might be construed as hate-speech or incitement to violence.

Further Research

A transcript of the responses may be published as a physical volume or e-book to ensure the content is more easily accessible to future researchers, but this is an optional additional project possibly requiring further funding. The piece was originally intended for exhibition in early 2021 but this has been delayed indefinitely due to the impacts of COVID-19 and other projects.

Contact from potential participants is welcomed,

Colin James Woods