I attempt from love’s sickness to fly, in vain

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, first performed in London in 1695. A companion suite of photographs is available to be exhibited with the video.

Shot with two 5k cameras simultaneously, up to 8 channels of video are displayed side by side to make one panoramic image, resulting in the appearance of repetitions and distortions in the architectural space. The text of the song, in which the singer describes the futility of trying to escape from “love’s sickness”, parallels the circularity of the da capo musical structure – and begs the question, what exactly is “love’s sickness”: romantic love, mortality, or the human condition?

Exhibition History:

2017 I attempt from love’s sickness to fly, in vain. Republic Gallery in conjunction with the Capture Festival of Photography, Vancouver


Conceived, directed, and produced by: Carol Sawyer
Starring: Catherine Lee (voice) and Patricia Unruh (viola di gamba)
Associate Producer and Production Coordinator: Sharon Kahanoff
Director of Photography and Camera Operator: Pete Hagge
DIT and Sound Recordist: Ian Barbour
Second Camera Operator: Ryan Ermacora
Camera Assistant and Gaffer: Jean Brazeau
Grips: Mackenzie Reid Rostand, Rafay Waqar, Evan Mason
Set Decoration: Kara Hansen and Ruben Möller
Production Assistant: Kara Hansen
Catering: Kathleen Taylor
Wigs and Make-up: Hayley Smith
Production stills: Raymond Lum Inc / Photography
Assistant Editor: Ryan Ermacora
Post production sound edit, sound design and foley: Nolan McNaughton
Post-production intern and colour correction: Yue (Amo) Wang
Costumes and wigs courtesy Greater Vancouver Historical Performance Society of B.C.
Shot in July 2016 at the Famee Furlane in Vancouver B.C.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the British Columbia Arts Council.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.