Episodic video 2013
The Earth is not at rest is a collaborative project between Sol Archer and Frances Scott; a sequence of five silent videos, produced over the course of a month in response to the evolving content and sites of WENDEL! OPEN YOUR DOOR, an exhibition and program of events initiated by the Woodmill and hosted by Cafe Gallery, Southwark Park, London in July 2013. This group endeavour took as its starting point Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, a graphic retelling of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which Shakespeare is commissioned to write and perform for the characters of the play. The comic formed the basis for a series of reading groups and research trips, and a zero point from which both individual and communal responses emerged.
The Earth is not at rest developed as a script constructed from dialogue and stage direction from Shakespeare’s text, interviews with and horoscopes by an astrologer, and from Tom Stoppard’s TV drama Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; a play within a play, in which two secondary characters from Hamlet enact and observe the unfolding narrative in which they are complicit, and in which their fates are sealed. Marking time against these connected abstractions – conversations that weave between different games and the hand of chance, and the potency of the night as a space for dream and creative disobedience – is an astrological prediction for that month of July 2013 with planetary pairings setting the astrological tone for each episodic progression.
An astrologer was commissioned to produce a forecast chart for the exhibition, mapping out the planetary transits and celestial events that Corresponded with events in the public program.
The film was shot in and around Southwark Park, primarily on Midsummers night. In tracking shots and movement through and between the undergrowth of the park, the camera is a cognisant eye, a present but disembodied or inarticulate character on the periphery of interleaved spaces and events.