Re-code Shakespeare "Claudius' Hand"

Claudius’ Hand is a sequel Ophelia’s Skull. This also treats one of the main characters in Hamlet, Claudius, who is on the antipode of Ophelia in the plot. The amputated hand tries to grab the white lilies, which stand for purity, modesty, majesty and ‘it's heavenly to be with you’, but the lilies wither in vain. The work is Interaction Design, on which a physical object, projected moving images and sounds are organically converged. The time-lapse photos of the lilies were taken with a DSLR camera every 2 minutes, for 3 weeks. This is more obscure and dynamic than the prequel, which is relatively subtle and static.

Re-coding Shakespeare with Royal Shakespeare Company - www.rsc.org.uk
The work is a sequel Ophelia’s Skull. This also treats one of the main characters in Hamlet, Claudius, who is on the antipode of Ophelia in the plot. The amputated hand tries to grab the white lilies, which stand for purity, modesty, majesty and ‘it's heavenly to be with you’, but the lilies wither in vain. Claudius’ Hand is Interaction Design, on which a physical object, projected moving images and sounds are converged. When audiences approach the sculpture, the amputated hand suddenly tries to grab the white lilies and the lilies begin blooming, which stand for Purity, modesty, virginity, majesty, and it also means, “It's heavenly to be with you”, but, in this work, the lilies wither in vain while the hand tries to grab then. Claudius’s Hand, as he does in the story, worships the heavenly things but it ends up death.
Claudius' Hand - Kinetic Sculpture
Kinetic Movement
Concept

I thought of making a series of pieces with characters in Hamlet. I read Hamlet 4 or 5 times to analyse the plots and characters. At a glance, Claudius was depicted as the villain but in Act 3, he confessed his guilt to God.

“My stronger guilt, defeats my strong intent, And like a man to double businesse bound, I stand in pause where I shall first begin, And both neglect; what if this cursed hand Were thicker then it selfe with Brothers blood, Is there not Raine enough in the sweet Heauens To wash it white as Snow?"


In this part, Hamlet tries to kill him, but he doesn’t. Shakespeare tries to express a dialectic nature of human being.
Good and evil, Angel and devil. This seems somewhat cliché but it is still very powerful. The bracket is a metaphor of life. Once a bracket opens, it ends up closing someday. This has likeness to our life and, of course, the destiny of King Claudius.

Original Projection Film
The lilies are beautifully projected from the ceiling onto the white table. The power of nature is always miraculous. I took the time-lapse photos for 3 weeks, every 2 minutes with a Canon still camera. It was a quite tricky process but worth doing it. 3D computer graphic can never replace the naturalness of real things.
“What a piece of worke is a man! how Noble in Reason? how infinite in faculty? in forme and mouing how expresse and admirable? in Action, how like an Angel? in apprehension, how like a God? the beauty of the world, the Parragon of Animals...”
Movement

The Hand has been technically advanced from Ophelia’s Skull. I attempted to make a complex multi-sensory method. Hence, I set up an electric circuit and a servomotor inside the wooden hand, and made it move by proximity sensors. The mechanism of the hand is quite simple. It’s like a puppet, pulling and releasing wires.

Sequence of Movement
Material

The material, Wood, is significant here. Obviously, It is a robot, but made of wood not metal. And, it imitates human behaviour, that’s quite a bit spooky. And, in distance, the lilies and the hand seem static. So, it provokes people’s unexpectedness as audiences approach the sculpture.

Carving
Hand and Lilies
Table and the Claudius' Hand
Table Making
Sound Ambiance

Sounds and moving images along with the real kinetic object are combined into a single work like the Ophelia’s Skull.
However it is deemed that this is a bit more intriguing. Claudius’ Hand is on an antipode of the Ophelia’s Skull. More obscure and dynamic than the Skull that is a bit feminine, and subtle and static.
Sound Design
Electric Mechanism - advised by Jihoon Choi, Angus Main

Two proximity sonar sensors are in operation in the installation, and they are reacted by the distance between audience and the table. The sensors are hidden under the table, front and the right hand side, and detect objects. Once the sensors detect any kind of solid object, it sends a signal to both a circuit and a laptop. The frequency of the motion varies depending on the two distance levels. The closer the object approaches, the faster the hand moves.

Movement
Installation

Installation is one of the most difficult parts in this project. The ceiling does not yield enough distance to make enough size of the film onto the table. It needs at the shortest 3 meters in order to make a 1 square meter projection image but the ceiling of the space is only 2.5 meters. Hence, the 45 degree sloped mirror is set up to enlarge the projection image. Pinpoint accurate calculation of angles and distance were crucial.
Mirror and Beam Projector
Installation Process
 Exhibition - Re-coding Shakespeare

This exhibition is part of World Shakespeare Festival 2012, which was organised by Royal Shakespeare Company (www.rsc.or.uk). 10 people including myself were participated in the exhibition that was held from 11th August until 3oth September 2012, in Swan Room at the company. The head theatre of the company is located in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, which is a hometown of William Shakespeare. The exhibition were curated by Peter Anderson, produced by Sarah Ellis and Ida Barellini.
Re-code Shakespeare Exhibition in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK (Aug.- Sep. 2012)
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