The fragility of the human body is addressed in Madness and Other Tales, a live performance in which soprano Lisa Cassidy and Vertixe Sonora Ensemble perform a new score written by Grace Schwindt. This piece is based on the 'Aria of Madness' from Gaetano Donizetti’s 19th-century opera 'Lucia di Lammermoor'. The murder of the bridegroom by Lucia – who is forced to marry him for political reasons – is the focal point of this tragedy in which the bride's act is perceived to be an act of madness. This work implicitly addresses the patriarchal construction of the feminine signified by the mad woman, whose hysteria (widely used in literature and opera) precludes the possibility of the woman acting to free herself from an oppressive situation. This is addressed by the artist through the mirror suit – a sharp, rigid material, in contact with the human skin – alluding to what Lacanian Psychoanalysis refers to as the ‘Mirror Stage’ of infant development, in which the subject overcomes their experience of fragmentation and powerlessness. In addition to the narrative signified by Donizetti's opera and accentuated by the setting, is the emancipatory narrative provided by the artist in her modified score. The high notes attempt to transcend the usual range of the human voice, and the whistling references the superstitions of sailors who associated it with protection. For British and Asturian fishermen the whistle was ‘the Devil's music’, the call to the wind and to the storm.

  • Color system PAL
  • Color col.
  • Year 2016
  • Duration 00:36:35
  • Artists