I attempt from love’s sickness to fly, in vain is an exhibition of video and photographs based on a performance of the aria of the same title, written by the English baroque composer Henry Purcell. The work explores a number of seemingly opposite concepts: theatricality/realism, period/contemporary, fragment/ whole, youth/ age, health/sickness, and so on.

The video is set in a large ballroom with a proscenium arch stage at one end. A costumed, bewigged singer and viola di gamba player perform the aria, dance, rest, and perform the aria again—caught in a repeating loop complicated by the aria’s da capo structure, which could theoretically cycle endlessly.

The visual language used to construct the video builds on the textual, musical, emotional, and metaphorical complexity of the aria and performance. Multiple channels of video are combined to make one panoramic image, resulting in distortions and repetitions in the architectural space, which contribute to a sense that both the physical and metaphorical spaces described are shifting and unstable.

The artist gratefully acknowledges the British Columbia Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and Richard Metzger at Inspired Cinema for their support of this project.

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