Unbreak My Heart, 2012, Single channel video, 7 minutes 5 seconds
In Unbreak My Heart, the allegory of the hysteric is interlaced with allusions to the witch. Lines from Malleus Maleficarum are read aloud by a little girl, who couldn’t possibly be aware of their implications. Like Salomé being forced to seduce Herod with a dance, this lifeless girl gets up entranced and begins to perform her role as seductress. The video tackles antiquated ideas of hysteria and witchcraft and brings them into a contemporary context, reinventing their narrative in order to illuminate the grasp they continue to hold over women today. With a dance performed to Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart” I frame the work within contemporary pop culture. The soundtrack, used to heighten emotional effect and presumably sung to a lover, functions as a futile plea for changing the past, or a contractual incantation, a spell cast.