Words by Lula Criado
Kristin and Davy McGuire construct dream worlds from paper, and their creative and innovative staging of a play caught our attention. The couple are multidisciplinary artists based in Bristol (UK) and work with video installations, performances, dioramas, animation and paper crafts to turn stories or books into theatre.
Their latest piece, The Paper Architect, winner of the 2013 Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, is an intimate performance made by hand. Through video installation and paper handcraft, it tells the story of a lonely man who longs for a life he never lived. While they do not reveal their innovative techniques, it doesn’t matter. We don’t need to know how they make us believe the paper characters come alive. Once the music starts, they transport us into their delicate and fragile worlds made entirely of paper.
What do you see as the ultimate discovery in human history?
Davy: The Subconscious.
Kristin: The Subconscious? What a great answer!!
Do you find creativity where there was once insanity?
Kristin: Possibly. If you look at artists’ lives they generally bear a few extraordinary experiences, but they get predominantly exploited for marketing reasons rather than creativity. We live in the society of the spectacle after all…
If you had to give up one of your five senses, which one would it be and why?
Davy: Smell. It would help in certain situations. I also like to play music and touch things.
Kristin: Smell. Our work only makes sense if one can see and hear, so best keep that. I am a dancer, and dancing doesn’t work without touch. Life without appetite is pretty joyless; I’d like to keep that as well. Smell is probably the most defunct in the world we live in.
Empathy and apathy… Would you be able to work with someone like yourself?
Davy: No, as they would really piss me off.
Kristin: It wouldn’t be much fun, but at least I’d have a superefficient team that does things exactly how I want them to be done!
How do you cope with creative desperation?
Davy: Keep working, try to sleep more, and don’t worry too much about it.
Kristin: Keep thinking. There is always a solution to everything, and there is pleasure in squeezing them out of your brain cells.
And one for the ride, when do you decide that enough is enough?
Davy: Deadlines make that decision for me.
Kristin: When the result has rendered the blurry vision you had in your head before you started into something crystal-clear.