The Cure of Folly

Country: United Kingdom
Duration: 49 mins
Sound: Stereo
Available Format/s: HD Video
Original Format: HD Video
  • Feminism
  • Language and text
  • Memory
  • Multi-screen and expanded


English; speech from memory; figures of ‘osmotic’ learning 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.


Here, re-considered ‘heads’ and ‘follies’ inspired by Bosch’s macabre painting, condense a relation between the man and the woman, by capturing a chance cross-section of memorised language.
The Cure of Folly (2012),  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. 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 voices fleeting narrative images, scripts long since cast aside.


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 this digital work was determined by the duration of the memory of the speaking actor.

More works by Holly Antrum

United Kingdom
, 2011
4 Minutes

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