Date: 2012 Posted by:James R. Ford Cast: Not given Credits: Produced by James R. Ford Duration: 1.30
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:
Date: 2011 Posted by:Will Goss Cast: Will Goss Credits: Directed by Will Goss, painting by Dexter Dalwood, music by Nirvana Duration: 2.32
This is a striking video interpretation of Shakespeare’s sonnet no. 135, “Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will” i.e. the one with all the ‘will’ puns. The punning is all the more since the filmmaker is another Will, Will Goss, who describes himself as “an experimental videomaker, musician, and writer”, and a graudate student at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The video places Will as he recites the sonnet within a series of gaudy paintings of interiors, with a cut-out quality that echoes the collage work of Richard Hamilton. Possibly Shakespeare’s words become a little lost in the visual detail, but this is nevertheless witty, confident and original, correctly bending Shakespeare to the filmmaker’s own design – his will, in fact.
Date: 2006 Posted by:siblmp Cast: none Credits: made by Michael Sibley Duration: 2.27
Such a simple concept. The words of an abbreviated version of Sonnet 12 (“When I do count the clock that tells the time”) have been filmed apparently floating slowly past on the River Avon (it’s hard to tell given the low image resolution, but some trickery is involved since the words then float backwards). The reflected clouds add reflective depth, while the drifting words suggest poetic reverie. It’s just a shame about the naff fretless bass on the music track.
Date: 2007 Posted by:ChrisDavey83 Cast: none Credits: made by Chris Davey Duration:0.36
A hypnotic interpretation of Sonnet 30 (“When to the sessions of sweet silent thought”), produced by a graphic design student set the task of creating a TV ident for a BBC series (presumably an academic exercise rather than one that was actually used by the BBC). Words drift in and out, laterally and vertically, overlaid upon themselves, artfully playing with fonts and layout, a typographer’s reverie. It’s a satisfying visual reading that demonstrates what power words have alone to catch the eye.
This is an example from the 116 Project, in which ‘Shakespeare Cowboy’ (possibly not his real name) films ordinary Americans and gets them to read Shakespeare 116th sonnet (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments”). It’s a delightful idea, and the several videos on his YouTube channel each charm through the freshness of their (mostly) untutored readings and the everyday settings. Here the sweetness of Eleanor’s rendition is enriched by the homely setting, the dog and the cat. As the videos’ creator says, “Shakespeare shows us people and people show us Shakespeare”.
Date: 2005 Posted by: ElMatadore88 Credits: Created by Edward Cast: Andrew Dexter, Casey Inouye, Edward Fan, Maki Hattori, Nolan Chung
Posted on 18 December 2005, this must be one of the earliest original Shakespeare titles on YouTube. It’s certainly not a conventional production. Describing itself as ‘all the confusing themes of Shakespeare packed into one!’ the video is tagged with such terms as ‘blood’, ‘honor’, ‘ghosts’, ‘romance’ and ‘love’. It starts with Shakespeare’s name written out in what look like cushions, with a piano is played and voices mutter in the background. The images that follow include a church, a paper boat in water having rocks dropped on it (and then the film reversed), birds by a pond, schoolroom actors (mostly Chinese-American) with masks grimacing at the camera, a boy giving birth to a rock, a young woman with a moustache (‘this is what’ll you learn in Shakespeare’), an invisible man, ghostly figures (some of whom dance in the style of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’), blood, fighting, and snatches through out of Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and the sonnets. With snatches of music, messages written on hands, and voices played backgrounds, this is a puzzle, if not quite a paradox. To a degree, it’s just a silly student jape, but it’s a creative jape for all that.