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- Christopher Green, Artist in Residence, the British Library
Actor, cabaret artist and writer Christopher Green has become the British Library’s first ever Leverhulme Artist in Residence and embarks on an exciting project using the Library’s vast collections. Christopher will trace the history of hypnosis throughout the course of this year, building up to a climactic show in October where he will reveal a brand new character to the public to ‘confound, amaze, heal and entertain’. www.bl.uk/artistinresidence
Hypnosis, considered as both entertainment and therapy, is a subject which crosses disciplinary boundaries. Christopher’s research will explore the length and breadth of the Library, from arts and humanities to medical and scientific collection items. Christopher has started his journey with the playbills of the great Victorian conjuror and ventriloquist, Evanion, whose papers were acquired by the Library in 1895. With a wealth of rare books and sheet music at his fingertips, the new Artist in Residence will uncover the stories of mesmerists, showmen, doctors and pseudo-scientists.
Christopher Green says: “I was delighted to be asked to be the Inaugural Artist in Residence and I think it’s great that it’s a live artist. The British Library has such a rich history across all disciplines, but it’s often forgotten how strong its links with the stage and performance of all types are. I will be searching through these collections, plundering and plucking shiny objects that grab my attention. The British Library is a vibrant, exciting place to be – always packed with interesting people doing interesting things, banging away excitedly at their laptops. I’m going to be slowing them down, putting them under and freeing them from everyday constraints. You might feel very different about libraries after this!”
Zoe Wilcox, Curator of Modern Literary Theatrical Manuscripts, comments: “It is very exciting to have a live artist take up residence in the Library, exploring a subject which fascinates us, today, as much as it did the Victorians. We are looking forward to seeing what Christopher uncovers from across our collections and learning more about the tricks and techniques of the early hypnotists. I hope Christopher’s residency will encourage other creative artists to come and be inspired by the British Library’s collections.”
Christopher’s brand new work will be revealed in a performance at the Library on 19 October, preceded by two show-and-tell sessions where he will present his most intriguing discoveries from across the Library’s archives.
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