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The Great and The Good

The Great and the Good is both object and film. A mirrored flameworked borosilicate glass lamb rotates on a recording of the final scene of Francis Poulenc's opera Dialogue of the Carmelites. This opera is set during the French Revolution and tells the story of a fearful noblewoman who tries to escape the world by joining a Carmelite convent. The nuns are sentenced to death and in the final scene there is one less voice as each nun climbs the scaffold to be guillotined, as a passively complicit crowd watches. First produced in the aftermath of World War II, its depiction of the persecution of religious groups and social classes is relevant today. This recording appears on the RCA label. Their motto "His Master's Voice" appears in French on the label, where along with other European nations and the United States, there is concern of rising fascism and autocracy. The "Great" refers both to Great Britain and recent political campaign slogans in the United States. I am a citizen of both countries. The lamb is ambiguous with symbolism as perhaps sacrificial animal or non-thinking mob mentality and thoughtless action. The spinning mirrored lamb shows a distorted view of the observer and their environment. No glue holds the lamb on the record: it could easily be taken off its circular trajectory by the slightest of actions.

Film: Shannon Tofts
Edit: Carrie Fertig
Sound: Denise Duval, Liliane Berton, Régine Crespin, Gisèle Desmoutiers, Janine Fourrier, Choeurs du Theatre National de l'Opera de Paris, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris & Pierre Dervaux conductor, Francis Poulenc, Dialogues Des Carmelites

The Collection of the European Museum of Modern Glass, Rödental, Germany

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