Virtual Exhibit

Posts Tagged ‘Tongues in Trees Installation’

Tongues in Trees Audio Gallery

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Tongues in Trees Audio Gallery

Tongues in Trees Image Gallery

Click here to return to the Introduction and here to view the Video Gallery

Tongues in Trees Image Gallery


Dawn MathesonIn the Elizabethan period, everyone went to the theatre: commoners stood at ground level, while the upper classes sat in the balconies. Despite this separation, Shakespeare’s words were intended for all classes. His words did not require the viewer to be educated or even literate, but instead expected an understanding of shared human experience. By contrast, modern day Shakespeare is an icon of high literate culture, supposedly reserved only for the well educated and those that can afford theatre tickets.

Tongues in Trees, an audio installation by multimedia artist Dawn Matheson uses the medium of interventionist art to create a Shakespearean performance space for adults struggling with literacy due to learning disabilities–or a limited access to education because of troubled or low income histories. When approached with the project, only two of the participants had any past experience with Shakespeare. Nonetheless, each performer found and learned a monologue that personally related to their struggles and life experiences. These monologues were recorded and then, through an audio system set in trees outside the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, triggered by passers-by through the use of motion detectors hidden in front of the gallery. Tongues in Trees self-consciously refutes modernist notions of elite ownership that attach to Shakespeare and reinvents the relevance of Shakespeare to a wide audience regardless of class, educational standing, or ability.

Tongues in Trees

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