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

I attempt from love’s sickness to fly, in vain, is a video and group of photographs based on an aria written by the English baroque composer Henry Purcell. In the video, the aria is performed several times by a viola di gamba player and soprano in full baroque – period costume.

The video was shot with two vertically oriented 5k cameras simultaneously, enabling up to 8 channels of video to be composited side by side to make one wide panoramic image, creating a series of fictional architectural spaces. Panning and tracking camera movements make the architecture appear to fold, stretch, and morph. The text of the song, in which the singer describes the futility of trying to escape from “love’s sickness”, is echoed by the circularity of the da capo musical structure and the endlessly looping video.

The accompanying photographs play with the Baroque fascination with the grotesque, lingering on details of the video that highlight the ornamental distortions and fictional spaces created.

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.