'126' at Sutton House, Queer Season

LGBTQ exhibition for Queer Season at Sutton House, Hackney
5 Feb - 29 March 2015

To follow up Master-Mistress, 126 volunteers submitted readings of Shakespeare's Fair Youth sonnets, which they recorded themselves on their phones. They also supplied 10 second video portraits to accompany the sonnets.

The resulting film was projected against the wall of the chapel in Sutton House as part of the first every 'Queer Season' a two month long occasion that included a showcase of work by Nick Fox and a screening of the Craft on Valentine's Day hosted by Amy Grimehouse.

In 1640, publisher John Benson notoriously changed all of the pronouns in Shakespeare’s Fair Youth Sonnets to suggest that the subject was always a woman. This illustrates that even in the 17th Century there was an awareness that the fair youth in question was a man. This audiovisual exhibition seeks to reclaim Shakespeare as a queer figure.

126 LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer) volunteers have contributed their voices and have each recorded one of the sonnets and a short video portrait. The result will hopefully challenge listeners and viewers to reconsider Shakespeare’s words and the way in which his identity might be viewed today.

The exhibition is crowdsourced as each volunteer recorded and submitted their own contributions. Both this, and the physical exhibition, reflect the ways in which DIY culture is often utilised in LGBTQ activism.

126 is activism. By reinterpreting Shakespeare’s sonnets, perhaps the most widely known collection of love poems, we are reclaiming our place in history, and this exhibition contributes to the increasing visibility of LGBTQ identities in historic buildings, and in the National Trust.

Thanks to all of the volunteers who kindly contributed their voices, time and talent to 126.
Exhibition curated by Sean Curran
Artwork by Alex Creep
Thanks to the staff at Sutton House for their support

The sonnets can be listened to here.

And the videos can be viewed here.

There's a video of the projection as it appeared in the chapel:

'126' at Sutton House from Sean Curran on Vimeo.

The 126 contributors are:

Abi White, Adam Spawnton-Rice, Alastair Bealby, Alex Creep, Alex Malgua/Tonny A, Alex Rendall, Ali D'Marco, Alice Ralph, Alison Binney, Amber Holmes, Andrew Stevenson, Anna Black, Anon, Arvind Thandi, Barberette, Barry Creasy, Ben Thomas, Betty Wood, Caleb Everett, Carina Badger, Carlos Siganporia, Carmen Palacios Berraquero, Caroline Holloway, Catherine Vulliamy, Chris Sims, Cia Marsh, Dan Walden, Dante Micheaux, David Pittard, Debora Catarina, Edward Johnstone-Long, Eleanor Margolis, Eley Williams, Eli Bligh-Briggs, Elinor Hynes, Emily Henderson, Emma Jones, Ernesto Sarazale, Esther Saxey, Felix Bear Lane, Gabriella Christina Basso Ricci, Gavin Baldwin, Gina Marshall, Greygory Vass, Grietje Baars, Guy Trask, Hakeem Kazeem, Helen Oswald, Hollie Howitt, Holly Henderson, Iain Porter, Jacob Aria, Jack Chandler, James Hobbs, Jamie Lawson, Jan Pimblett, Joanne Drayton, Jess Winterson, Jessie Holder, Jetta Willis, Jim MacSweeney (Gay's The Word bookshop), John Flinders, John William, Jon Hillier, Jonathan Fennelly-Barnwell, Jonathan Howard, Jonathan Kemp, Josefeen Foxter, Ju Gosling aka ju90, Julie Newman, Kane Briggs, Katharine Wener, Kayte Stokoe, Keith Jay, Kirsty-Fay Dalgliesh, Krishna Istha, Kyle Lee-Crossett, Lamarr Brown, Lara de Belder, Laurie Kenneth Alula Brown, Liz Bruton, Lucy Freedman, Lukas Scott, Luke Brown, Maria Rosamojo, Marion Wasserbauer, Mark Harvey, Mark Hollingworth, Marvin Edmead, Mary Faulkner, Matt Horwood, Meg Davis, Michael Oakes, Mijke van der Drift, Miranda Cook, Mitchell Sowden, Moya, Nat Sullivan, Nick Mcglynn, Oat Montien, Oskar Marchock, Rachel Sparks, Rik Barnett, Rosamund (mother, teacher and campaigner of severe asthma), Ruth Russell, Ryan M McKelvey, Saga Becker, Scott Fraser Morrison, Sean Curran, Soetkin Verhaegen, Sol Craighead-Wheeler, Stuart Pinches, Suzanne Marshall, Surat Shaan Knan, Tamsin Bookey, Tasha Tristan, Thom Petty, Tom Tyldesley, Tracey Button, Uli Lenart (Gay's The Word bookshop), Victor Zagon, Victoria Gherardi Angiolini, Will Sawyer, Ymke Kelders, Zia X, Zoe Holder

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