The Mechanicals, 2017
HD Video, sound and mixed media installation

the moon
Photo: Anya Stewart-Maggs and Ben Warner
mechanicals installation 02
On the Heights, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2017
Photos: Jules Lister

The Mechanicals is pieced together through rehearsals of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, filmed on-site at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Throughout the play, Shakespeare confounds traditional notions of time and place as well as conscious and unconscious experiences. Significantly for me though, it is often the voice that dislocates and reformulates these longstanding conventions.

Synaesthetic disturbance is adopted by Shakespeare, who in A Midsummer Night’s Dream uses the (seemingly) incompetent Mechanicals to confuse sensory language and experience. For example, when Quince the carpenter is asked about his fellow mechanical Bottom, he explains that the latter went ‘to see a noise that he heard’. It is Bottom, however, who delivers the most evocative sensory distortion: ‘I see a voice,’ he claims, as he and his colleagues act out Pyramus and Thisbe, the famous play-within-a-play at the heart of Shakespeare’s work.

Like Tom Snout, who literally embodies the wall in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I aim to open up spaces in the work, that operate between established oppositions; perforating the dividing walls without completely disintegrating the necessary separations of language and media.

The Names of the Actors

Sam Belinfante ~ filmmaker ~ Robin Goodfellow the sprite and others
Elizabeth Chan ~ Robin Starveling the tailor ~ Moonshine
Dermot Daly ~ Nick Bottom the weaver ~ Pyramus
Laura Elsworthy ~ Snug the joiner ~ Lion
Sophie Ivatts ~ director ~ Theseus the Duke of Athens and others
Jules Melvin ~ Tom Snout the tinker ~ Wall
Peter McGovern ~ Francis Flute the bellows-mender ~ Thisbe
Robert Pickavance ~ Peter Quince the carpenter
Anya Stewart-Maggs, Will Saunders and Benjamin Warner ~ videographers
Richard Thomas ~ sound recordist

Additional thanks to ABC Inflatables, Lucy Casson, Holly Willats, Sarah Kate Wilson, The Tetley, University of Leeds and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

objects-and-installations, films