her light stretches

an installation of text, song, light and mirrors
by helen varley jamieson

Music from Fragments of Love, composed and sung by Helen Chadwick
Text by Sappho, in a version by Anne Carson

her light stretches combines Helen Chadwick's hauntingly beautiful compositions for Sappho's words with ethereal text animations that assemble and dissolve in an expanding space of reflection and refraction.

Sappho's poetry has drifted across the centuries to us in fragments, moving from stone tablets to printed words, translated across languages and transformed into music; now her words are transmediated into drifting pixels of light across virtual spaces.

"A magical space that left me floating ... that quietened me ... that allowed me to breathe deeply."
Jill Greenhalgh, theatre director (UK)

"The installation was original and beautiful and came as a stark surpise from the location it was placed in. It gave me a direct emotional message of darkness, sorrow and sweet beauty."
Geddy Aniksdal, actor, Grenland Friteater (Norway)

"The darkness, the resonant space, the magic of the text play and Helen's celestial voice which seems to come from the heavens themselves, the echoes of the mirrors, it's the digital version of the caves of the ancients ..."
Madeline McNamara, actor and director (NZ)

Audiences enter the space a few at a time, pausing on the threshhold to allow their eyes to adjust to the darkness and to listen to Chadwick's echoing voice. Then they move slowly into a constantly changing space created by projected text that appears, moves and vanishes in response to the music. Words form and fracture, spill onto the floor and play across the bodies of the audience. A contemplative space is created between Chadwick's voice and the visualisation of the words.

her light stretches            her light stretches            her light stretches

her light stretches was first realised at the Holstebro Slagteriet as part of the 2016 Transit Festival, Holstebro, Denmark with the support of Odin Teatret and City of Munich Department of Arts and Culture. Thanks to the installation team of Maria Porter, Gutto Basso and Tomas Lindström; and to Suzon Fuks for video documentation. The concept has been developed from a similar installation, Recipes for Life, created by Helen Varley Jamieson in collaboration with Eva Ursprung in Graz, Austria in 2010.

Fragments of Love was released as an album in February 2016, www.helenchadwick.com. The text comes from If Not Winter: Fragments of Sappho first published by Vintage Books, copyright Anne Carson 2002. By kind permission of Anne Carson and Aragi Inc.



what | did | you | expect

© Helen Varley Jamieson 1999-2016