A Fire Ritual for the Heart

A still from my video A Fire Ritual for the Heart

I was delighted to have my silent video included in the exhibit Silent Fire, a joint venture with Nasty Women Connecticut and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Thanks to Stephanie Johnson and Lys Guillorn for cheering me on. The short film is meant to accompany a performance of Barbara Strozzi’s Ardo in tacito foco, which gave the exhibit its title.

A Fire Ritual for the Heart

2020, video, (849 MB)

This silent film was inspired by and is a companion to Barbara Strozzi’s ‘Ardo in tacito foco’. Capturing the suffering of Strozzi’s lament, this silent film shows a woman undertaking a ritual to assuage her aching heart, invoking the cleansing power of fire to burn away the love that makes her suffer. It is silent (‘Heart that forbids the tongue to speak the name of its beloved’) but of a length suitable to accompany a performance of the lament. It evokes the fiery nature of passion, but also the resilience of the heart. The palette gestures to the three alchemical colours of transformation: red, white, and black. It was designed to accompany Catherine Bott’s recording of the song on To the Unknown Goddess: A Portrait of Barbara Strozzi (Carlton Classics, 2013) but could accompany any rendition of the composition.

There was a wonderful virtual opening ceremony with performances from the artists and great discussion of inspiration, process, and hopes for future in person events. Check it out, you will be refreshed.

Silent Fire exhibition runs March 15-August 15, 2021