ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND & NATIONAL TRUST: HART OF THE WOOD LIVE ART
Building on two very successful collaborative projects with the National Trust, (‘A Lost Paradise’, Kinetoscopes at Shugborough; and the Paa Joe & the Lion international artist residency and finale performance at Clumber, 2013).
Artdocs’ Benjamin Wigley, supported by Arts Council England, will begin an ambitious project in 2022 at National Trust Dudmaston’s Comer Woods. Ben collaborated with well-respected folk musician, and sonic adventurer, Nathaniel Robin Mann, with additional vocals from Lisa Knapp, to create three film and sound works for the three hand-crank-powered celluloid film projector boxes. The film and sound sculptures will be installed along a walk through the beautiful woodland. The soundscapes will be built from audio archive recordings with the woodlanders. Their phrases and speech will be interwoven into folk songs that draw upon the folkloric traditions of the industrial work-song, and the mysterious woodland spirits engrained in our consciousness from time immemorial.
The art explorer will be offered a unique, dream-like glimpse through a ‘wormhole’ to another world, where the Green Man roams, The White Hart watches, Gaia springs forth, and Long Tongue plays a greedy and dangerous game of chance with the the woodland spirits.
Lead artist Benjamin Wigley worked with sonic adventurer and folk artist Nathaniel Robin Mann, interweaving real audio excerpts from the woodlanders from the Dudmaston estate. Ben captured moments on 16mm film with contemporary woodlanders and combined imagery of the beautiful masks hand made and performed by artist Stephen Jon Cooper, to create a palimpsest of imagery, developed and tinted by hand.
Working with Dr. Matthew Little, a renewable energy engineer, Ben worked to develop and create three kinetoscopes (film and sound projection box sculptures). The artworks will be on display within the grounds of the National Trust's Dudmaston Hall Estate, along a walk through Comer Woods until 2024.
In celebration of the installation of the Kinetoscope projectors, there will be a one-off very special immersive and participative live performance event on 25th June. This ‘Happening’ in the woods will be a mystical, folkloric, phantasmagoria of theatre, song and procession. A woodland rite born on the eve of the summer solstice, that is the physical embodiment of history, nature, industry and folksong. Learn how to wind wand with artist and Hart of the Wood collaborator Martin Somerville, hand carvings and adorn the trees with the Hart Shaman. Listen to Gaia sing and then return to the meadow and visit the exhibition in the barn where you can watch short atmospheric film sequences taken from Ben's long-form film, Hart of the Wood, paintings, photographs and crafted objects that explores our deep relationship with the woods, through ancient myth to modern day.
Hart of the Wood is supported by Arts Council England, National Trust and ARTDOCS.