Infinite Violets by Charlotte Elizabeth Webb

Posted to Data visualisation Featured Gallery with 2 Comments on 18.06.12 by Sarah Ellis

Charlotte Elizabeth Webb

Infinite Violets is a computer generated artwork which creates many millions of variations of the following verse from Shakespeare’s King John:


Therefore, to be possess’d with double pomp,

To guard a title that was rich before,

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,

To throw a perfume on the violet,

To smooth the ice, or add another hue

Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light

To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,

Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.

(King John, 1595)

In Shakespeare’s play, the verse is spoken by the Duke of Salisbury on the occasion of the King’s second coronation. Salisbury feels that to crown the King again is superfluous and unnecessary, and this feeling is reflected in the language of the verse, which denotes excessiveness and ostentation.

Taking up the idea of re-enacting or embellishing phenomena, Infinite Violets explores the possibilities for language to be exploded into new forms by an algorithmic process. The work creates a hyper-textual encounter in which new variations of the verse are sometimes funny, awkward or charming, their poetic nature belying their creation by a computer programme. It is also concerned with alternative forms of authorship, both in terms of the algorithmic creation of poetry, and the inclusion of images created by the Flickr community.

To make Infinite Violets, a database of all the synonyms for each word in the original verse was created. A computer programme was written which would randomly combine the synonyms to create, in human terms, an infinite number of variations of the original verse. To provide a visual element, another database was created – this time, consisting of images found on Flickr. To find the images, each synonym was used as a search term in Flickr, and an image selected from the returned results. Whenever a new textual variation of the verse is generated, the computer programme also generates a slideshow of the ‘corresponding’ images. The images slowly fade into one another, creating a dreamy backdrop for the verses. The images used are all licensed under Creative Commons licenses which allow for their re-use or modification. Whenever an image appears on screen, the name of the author and the license they used appears as a hyperlink on bottom right of the screen. This means that at any point the viewer can go to the original source of the image.

Special thanks go to Arthur Webb and Mark Jackson for technical support.

That Time of Year – Shakespeare (Sonnet 73) by Jennifer Ridley

Posted to Featured Gallery Performance with 4 Comments on 15.06.12 by Sarah Ellis

Jenny Ridley 3

From exploring the nature of poetry and lyrics I feel Shakespeare is a very important figure in writing. Over the last few years I have spent time studying the relationship between these two elements and feel that his prose has had a significant impact on the way in which we write and express ourselves today.

I began to notice the musicality of Shakespeare from studying and reading his sonnets and songs. I became particularly aware of the delicate emotive prose, the structures, rhyme schemes and phrase movements. I decided to work from a Classical/Folk direction being careful to arrange the music to retain the beauty of the text whilst enhancing this with instrumental arrangements.

The piece I have chosen to share is, “That Time of Year” Sonnet 73.The text of this sonnet illustrates Shakespeare’s views on life, expressing his experiences using the metaphors of nature to explain the inevitable path of existence leading to old age and eventually moving towards death.

Similar to the lyricists and writers of today, I feel that Shakespeare has been able to gracefully create imagery and themes that are able to transcend and capture audiences of generations.

That Time of Year – Sonnet 73


That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west;

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the deathbed whereon it must expire,

Consumed with that which it was nourished by.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Chicken Shop Shakespeare

Posted to Featured Gallery Performance with 0 Comments on 10.05.12 by Sarah Ellis

Flash Mob Shakespeare

Chicken Shop Shakespeare is a collective of filmmakers and actors based in Leeds and the North of England. We bring Shakespearean words and scenes to unexpected situations and environments. Continue Reading

TO BE – a fresh take on Shakespeare by Australian Theatre for Young People in Sydney

Posted to Featured Gallery Performance with 0 Comments on 30.04.12 by Sarah Ellis

TO BE - Leo King Hii

Above image is Leo King Hii (Photo by Guido Gonzalez)

Take ten young actors, 9 different locations, one rainy day and the most famous monologue of them all and you have TO BE, a fresh take on Shakespeare’s best known words from the Australian Theatre for Young People in Sydney. Continue Reading

Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa

Posted to Commissioned Artists Featured Gallery with 1 Comment on 13.04.12 by Sarah Ellis

'Self Portrait, 2004' by Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa

Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa is a commissioned artist for myShakespeare. The image above is called ‘Self Portrait, 2004’.  Emma’s commissioned piece for myShakespeare is called ‘Nicely Turned’ is a tumblr blog in which, for the duration of the World Shakespeare Festival 2012, artist Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa will collate and re-present quotations, allusions and references to Shakespeare’s plays and Shakespeare’s characters at work in contemporary culture – primarily within affluent Western societies. Continue Reading

Shakespeare by Chance by Kate Brangan (Central Saint Martins)

Posted to Data visualisation Featured Gallery Student Projects with 1 Comment on 07.04.12 by Sarah Ellis

Kate Brangan

‘Shakespeare by chance’ is a generative design program which creates real time visual translations of Shakespeare quotes. Based on the most popular searches on Google Images at any one moment, for every word within the quotes submitted there is a corresponding Google image ranked first. This instant response allows for unique and undetermined results each time it is used, and is representative of the zeitgeist at that moment. Results are generated through public usage and are therefore representational of the current visuals that Shakespeare’s language competes with in the 21st Century. As the visual content is in the hands of the public it echoes the idea that Shakespeare now belongs to the public and with no control from the creator the work continues to adapt over time in its many variations and interpretations. Continue Reading

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