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Cassiopeia

Audiovisual composition for a multisensory installation.

The audiovisual work Cassiopeia was inspired by the post-Renaissance paintings in the Mannerist style, in particular the work of the Utrecht artist Joachim Wtewael. He took figures from classical mythology and painted them with a virtuosic manipulation of perspective and an intricate artificiality that contradicted the harmonious and rational ideals of the Renaissance. Details of his stylistic elements, such as an over-exaggerated gracefulness of the female form, extreme contrasts between acidic warm and cool colours, a disunification of time and space and an obscurely symbolic iconography, are emulated in my video images. In Greek mythology, Cassiopeia was the beautiful yet arrogant and vain queen of Æthiopia, wife of Cepheus and mother of Andromeda. In her arrogance she boasted that she and her daughter were more beautiful than the daughters of the sea god Nereus, and for this she was punished by Poseidon, the ruling god of the sea. To save her country from destruction, Cassiopeia sacrificed her daughter Andromeda by chaining her to a rock, but she was saved at the last minute by Perseus. As ultimate punishment, Poseidon chained Cassiopeia to a chair and placed her in the heavens, where she hangs upside-down for half the year.