Piling Up Shakespeare by Elena Reiniger (Central Saint Martins)

Posted to General with 1 Comment on 12.04.12 by Elena Reiniger

1.0 Brief - The Royal Shakespeare Company have invited MA CD to be involved in a project whose outcomes form part of the Cultural Olympiad 2012. The project’s mission is to find out what Shakespeare means in the 21st century.  MA CD’s involvement is to respond digitally and physically to the data produced by the search.

2.0 Research - As I was researching Shakespeare, there was one specific topic catching my attention: It was the question of how Shakespeare had been able to write so many plays, one after another all by himself. There are various speculations including that Shakespeare had a set of ghostwriters working for him.

To get a sense of the dimensions of his work, I placed a mark along a timeline of his working years for every play he wrote. The rhythm of his output is quite regular – it seemed as if there was a peak every 3–5 years where not just one, but up to four plays, were written.

As I looked at my graph, I imagined all those publications being
physically made perceptible …

3.0 Idea - … and I came up with the idea of piling up sheets of paper according to the number or words written on each play in the respective years. The piles of paper would have three different colours, according to the genre of written work (comedies, histories, tradegies).

So, to sum up my idea briefly: I’d like to create a physical timeline showing Shakespeare’s massive literary output. I still have not sorted out which way to arrange the plays but I’d like to think of a chronological way so that the visitor can make his/her way through Shakespeare’s creative life.

4.0 Mood - The research material collected shows how those piles of paper could be arranged in a room and how I imagine them to look and feel.


  • Rhonda

    I love the idea,

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