Like a moth to a flame we become helpless /
to the beautiful ghosts that true love sheds.
From the Ryan O'Neal song, “All that is Beautiful”
This installation was inspired by a sound that I have always associated with night-time in spring, summer and early fall: insects beating against lights. The sound of wings hitting lampshades and the bodies flung rhythmically, again and again, is compelling, hypnotic, haunting, futile and somewhat tragic.
From porch lampshades in late fall I collected the bodies of those that had attempted to immolate themselves, instead likely dying from exhaustion brought on by an unattainable goal. Examination revealed legs bent in arabesques, artfully furled proboscises, delicately veined wings, and eyes that still glistened like small faceted jewels.
Memorials to persistent desire, in turn immortalizing their ephemeral beauty, are seven chandeliers festooned with hundreds of reproductions of my small drawings of nocturnal insects.
Persistent Desire, the sound piece of this installation, was created from 16 hours of recordings of nocturnal insects in the Laurentian mountains of Quebec. To create the sound piece, the raw recordings were sampled and reassembled: otherwise the sound was not altered. The barely discernable whisper of tissue-thin wings, the susurrating as they cluster around the microphone and the “tick-tick-tick” of their bodies hitting glass have been amplified, creating sounds that could have been made by humans imitating their insistent dance. It feels both familiar and strange; loud murmurings of beautiful ghosts.
Beautiful Ghosts - Chandelier Installation
Persistent Desire - Sound Click play below to hear a sample of the installation audio track.
Installation Nuit Blanche 2011: Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, ON
Installation Views CRAM 2011