Ensemble - a mime for two players
29 October to 20 November 2005
Ensemble - a mime for two players uncovers a largely forgotten part of our cultural history to mine themes of aspiration and fallibility. It is a two screen video projection of a performance on two self-playing organs. These organs were built for public performance in the days before the prevalence of recorded music; each incorporates an array of instruments playing tunes punched into cards. Though they attempt to replace a full orchestra, their clunky nature leaves a conspicuous gap between ambition and reality.
Stella Capes has the two organs play the popular wartime tune ‘Roses of Picardy.’ Each is allocated a verse, with both instruments attempting to come together for the chorus. While individually the instruments can pass muster, playing in unison the flaws in their method become ever more heightened. The video is one long, un-edited, real-time performance made possible through an organised team of people operating each organ.
What results is an awkward, slightly embarrassing, but nevertheless graceful attempt to accomplish the impossible. The effort to achieve this human expression is of utmost importance; the awkward failure to succeed is at its essence.
Much of Capes’ work concerns itself with the effort expended in pursuit of unrealisable aims. It offers a view of the world as one in which failure is seemingly inevitable, but is transcended by the persistence of hope and human endeavour.
Stella Capes (b.1978) is an artist living in London. She trained at the Royal College of Art, has just completed the Cocheme Fellowship at Byam Shaw School of Art, and has recently exhibited in Peculiar Encounters, John St., London, Immediate 3, Site Gallery, Sheffield, Under 5’s, 39 Gallery, London and Portobello Film Festival, London.
Supported by Arts Council England