Songs of Praise (2006) from Duke and Battersby on Vimeo.
Songs of Praise for the Heart Beyond Cure
Songs of Praise is a 14 minute episodic piece that has been described as “a moving yet relentless experience of contemporary life (human and biological) in the face of moral, physical and environmental degradation” [Emily Jones, Catalogue Essay, Songs of Praise for the Heart Beyond Cure, Dalhousie Art Gallery, 2007] and “…a series of pagan hymns that unearth slight but potent saving graces amid seemingly inescapable pain and anguish." [Jon Davies, Canadian Art, Fall 2006]. Davies goes on to write "Rather than offering transcendence and redemption, these illustrated songs and monologues suggest that the distinction between desperation and hope is a question of degree and not kind.”
Themes of addiction, violence, the destruction of the natural world and the agonies of adolescence are woven through the work, but as Sarah Milroy writes for the Globe and Mail, the work is “anything but depressing... [it is founded in] a sense of wonder at the endearing weirdness of life and all the vulnerable, furry little creatures immersed in it (especially us).”