Posted by: James R. Ford
Cast: Not given
Credits: Produced by James R. Ford
A few months ago it was reported that US programmer Jesse Anderson had set up a virtual set of some millions of monkeys (using Hadoop), all of them tying at random on virtual typewriters, and had managed produce something that was 99.99% Shakespeare – the first text to be achieved in this way being ‘A Lover’s Complaint’. Anderson had cut corners however, because every time the random typing came up with words that roughly matched something from the Shakespeare canon then they would be retained, if not then discarded. With this and other constraints, Anderson could achieve his goal. The purely random production of Shakespeare by an infinite number of monkeys remains something for the philosophers and theoretical mathematicians.
Or for a videomaker. This droll piece, made by British artist James R. Ford, is an extract from a 9 minutes 8 second loop (therefore designed in principle to run forever). It shows us a woman in a monkey suit, typing Shakespeare, as the tags to the video tell us, because otherwise we would not know (a photograph of the typewriter on the artist’s website indicates that only gibberish has been produced – so far). Is is a Shakespeare video? I say that it is – and so it is (and just to make the point this post has been tagged with all of the plays and poems). A video to watch, infinitely.
Jesse Anderson explains more about his project on this video:
BBC online news item on Jesse Anderson’s project
Jesse Anderson’s Million Monkeys Project
James R. Ford’s personal website
Posted by: Csongor Dombovari
Cast: Harriet Carter (Ophelia)
Credits: Directed by Csongor Dombovari. Produced by Pinja Tenhunen and Brian Kawimbe. Director of Photography Joel Honeywell. Camera operator Wei Kong. Focus puller Nikki Rosen. Gaffer/Grip Pano Kimbigelis. Sound Emma Hill. Edited by Lotti Jones and Laura Fegan. Production design Aimee Bick. Costume design by Danae Stamatiou and Holly Whitefoord. Make-up and Hair Lucie Snow.
Here is a painting in motion. The camera pans slowly along twisted branches and fallen leaves while just off-screen a woman sings. The pan continues until it finds her muddied and scratched feet, then reveals a young woman in a stained white dress, lying among rocks and reeds, weaving a crown of twigs. The camera track further to her face, at which points we hear water starting to rush in. Gradually water begins to pour over her, her expression ranging back and forth from fear to delight. Fade to black as she breathes her last, the whole film just the single shot.
Unlike many Ophelia visualisations, this was not inspired by Millais but rather by painting “Ophelia among the Flowers” by Odilon Redon. The painterly quality lies not just in the inspiration and the lateral composition, but in the acute eye for detail, accentuated by sharp Super 16mm photography (we don’t get too many online videos which originated on film these days). This is cinematic, mysterious, a work to be read by what it make visible, not in words (there are none). It’s the sort of short film from which one can extrapolate a greater narrative, like an extract from an imagined feature film. A very professional piece of work.
“Ophelia among the flowers” at the National Gallery
Posted by: Cedric Vilim
Cast: Not given
Credits: Shot and edited by Cedric Vilim, music ‘Squarepusher’ by The Exploding Psychology
A peculiar intepretation of Macbeth’s lines, “What hands are here? Hah! They pluck out mine eyes. / Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one red.” (Act 2 Scene 2). On one level, it’s a man in a bath with apples, intercut with shots of cuts of meat, overlaid by electro dance music. On another level … who can say? But it’s certainly unexpected. And uncategorisable.