Ignis Fatuus

WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery 
Cape Town

25 May 2017 - 01 July 2017
This site-specific installation was created for Swinney’s debut solo show Ignis Fatuus

The title was taken from a line from Emily Dickinson’s poem 1551 “Better an ignis fatuus/Than no illume at all”.  This ignis fatuus or false fire alludes to the will-’o-wisps in Goethe’s fairytaleThe Green Snake and The Beautiful Lily. The tale is a parable about human freedom, and the unification of the soul through alchemical transformation. It uses will-o’-wisps, destructive and self-seeking sprites, who act as guides that connect the two worlds of the soul and the senses, unifying the conflicting sides of the self and ultimately the conflicting sides of society. 

Ignis Fatuus is an immersive multi-media installation with 5 moving projections and a 5 point mix sound installation, which was made in collaboration with Warrick Sony. Unfortunately there was no video documentation taken of the work, but the audio can be played in conjunction with the slideshow of installation images.


Ignis Fatuus, 2017. Tracing paper, perspex mirror, styrofoam, painted silk plants, projectors, 5 point mix sound installation. Site-specific installation.


Photography: Hayden Phipps