Armida                                                                                    




This multimedia artwork looks at the Cronulla race riots in Sydney in December 2005: an event in which mass media  –particularly radio talk shows– propelled and ultimately ignited confrontations. It also looks at the opera Armida, a tale that first appeared in the Crusade epic narration Jerusalem Delivered published in 1581.

Armida is a Syrian warrior sorceress who falls in love with Rinaldo, a European knight conflicted by her beauty, mystery and sensuousness. Her character is a misleading allegory of the Muslim world: irrational, exotic, and ridden with passion.  

The installation is comprised of hand written musical scores and opera costumes sketches intervened with textual quotes from radio and television news shows broadcast around the Cronulla riots. Also, I prepared a radio show, with different versions of Armida from 1707 to 1904,  broadcast by Fine Music Sydney on December 2018; and a video work made in collaboration with Hazeen, a self-declared “Muslim black-death metal group”, in which the aria Come, come unrelenting hate from Jean Baptiste Lully Armide version of 1686 was reinterpreted.

Regardless that both Armida and Armida are four hundred years apart from each other there is a  strikingly similar message : “The siege is real”, “They have come to change our ways”, “How hateful can it be”. 


    




Installation views at C3 gallery, Melbourne, 2019. Photographies by Aaron Christopher Rees.