Ophelia’s Skull | Owen W. Lee
The work is a part of a project that aims at re-coding Shakespeare in the 21st century’s vision. The skull represents a well-known tragic character, Ophelia in Hamlet, who is many times used as a symbol of tragic death in a variety of art works in art history. The lyrical, unique literary style has been borrowed to describe the scene by artists. Most of the pieces are mainly focused upon depicting the scene that Queen Gertrude tells people the death from drowning of Ophelia. however, it is deemed that Shakespeare himself is more concentrated upon the dialectic between life and death.The project interactively delivers synesthetic images to audiences with visuals, sounds, textures, scripts and materials. The skull is a straightforward object to symbolise death, simultaneously,the surface is decorated with graceful sentences from the scene of Ophelia’s death in another aspect of the beauty of death.
Inside the skull, a paper strip hand-crank musical box is placed so that audiences can feel the emotion of the tragic beauty in the 16th century renaissance melody and rhythm, which have been reinterpreted and composed by the designer after an analysis of the 16th century’s lute music by John Dowland (England, 1563–1626). The artwork reminds of automata in the 16th–17th century in Europe.The music and the visual are converged upon multi-sensory delivery in an analogue and tactile flavour. This project is now expecting 2nd Version based upon contemporary technology.