Listening to Carlo Saraceni’s “The Fall of Icarus”.

fall of icarus
The human desire to fly is as old as the Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus. In this story Daedalus is imprisoned with his son Icarus in Crete. Unable to escape by sea Daedalus uses wax to fasten a pair of wings to Icarus’ shoulders. Daedalus instructs his son to fly neither too high nor too low. Not heeding his father’s advice Icarus flies upwards towards the sun, causing the wax to melt. Icarus plunges into the ocean and drowns. The moral of the story can be read in multiple ways: always listen to advice, be conscious of one’s own hubris, value moderation over excess.

This oil painting by Italian painter Carlo Saraceni, circa 1600, depicts the dramatic moment when Icarus falls. From the ground two men observe the scene, perhaps imagining the doomed father and son to be gods.

This is the second in what is to be a series of soundscapes focussing on birds in art. Wind becomes increasingly hostile to the figures in the sky. Moments of static fill the air. An antique auto-harp plays, grounding the piece in a bygone era.

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