The Cure of Folly
Two-channel HD video for two screens
49.15 minutes, loop


English; speech from memory; figures of ‘osmotic’ learning and and ‘learning by wrote’ are placed in relation to one another, in a response to Hieronymous Bosch’s painting The Stone of Folly (1494). In the painting, a man has his ‘foolishness’ surgically extracted as a physical lump whilst another figure, a nun, balances a book on her head, as if she might absorb its contents and wisdom. The Cure of Folly (2012) however, begins with the desire to see the intangible layering of texts upon just one person’s memory, an invisible thread of speech learned from scripts over time, which are stored ‘within’, and here invited ‘outwards’. One actor has been asked to recite all the lines he has ever learnt on the spot and without preparation; whilst another seemingly prompts but also mouthes, listens and mimics his remembered and forgotten words, as though caught in an elocution exercise: she is looped, occupying a different space and time to the first speaker. Using video as kind of surgery, placing linear and looping side by side, an impromptu memorised history of scripts lays bare dialogue which emerges in its gendered nature and reveals fleeting narrative images carried linguistically in the mind and memory of an actor, scripts long since cast aside. Through the process of making this video, both re-considered ‘heads’ and ‘follies’ from Bosch’s macabre painting, condense the relation between the man and the woman by  capturing a chance cross-section of memorised language. The placement in time of the actors, and fictive cross-threads to the woman’s presence, shift ambiguously throughout on separate screens.


The duration of the work was determined by the duration of the memory of the speaking actor.




Head 1 ‘Speaking, projecting’ (Harry Attwell)

Head 2 ‘Mouthing, projecting’ (Sofie Grevelius)


Texts remembered, in order they were remembered by speaking actor 1:


May Day (TV show) 

Da Vinci’s Demons (TV series, conceived by David S. Goyer) 

The Duchess of Malfi – John Webster 

Richard II – William Shakespeare 

The Snowman (Short film) 

King Lear – William Shakespeare 

Hamlet – William Shakespeare

Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare

Arcadia – Tom Stoppard 

An Inspector Calls – J. B Priestley 

Macbeth – William Shakespeare

Uncle Vanya – Anton Chekov

Habeus Corpus – Alan Bennett 

Much Ado About Nothing – William Shakespeare 

School Christmas play

Fame the Musical – José Fernandez / David De Silva

Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare

Unknown school play