OH HELL! (Research/Faustus/Rambling)

During lockdown, whilst my current and upcoming projects are suspended, I’ve been devoting what spare time I have to research.

Last year, I presented my work A History of Fate at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, the experience got me thinking about Christopher Marlowe for the first time since my GCSEs. This sparked a fascination in particular with his play Faustus, which has only deepened as I’ve found connections between it and other areas of research during lockdown… Namely the ancient game nine-mens morris, which I have described in previous posts on social media. I feel there is some fusion between those two inputs that will eventually lead to a new live work, a successor to A History of Fate in a way. I imagine it would be a work which will be inflected by a late medieval/ early renaissance worldview in the same way A history of Fate made reference to ancient Mesopotamia.

Research for making an artwork is a strange thing. In my case its information gathering but it is also the practice of recognising and collecting rhizomatic connections which are sometimes esoteric in nature. The thinking behind a work is months of  far-reaching stuff that occurs in the mind and all ends up distilled eventually into a finite object. That makes it sound more impressive than it is in reality. Usually much of that ‘research’ happens unconsciously. It is the bi-product of living a life, your experience naturally inflects all that you make. Its just that at the moment I think I am more conscious of trying to fill the well as it were.

In the audio file attached I’ve tried to take a vertical slice of my research and thinking and share it with you. These are some of my thoughts about the meaning of ‘hell’ in culture and how Marlowe puts hell to use in his play Faustus. Enjoy. If you can.

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