Torture By Roses
Biography Performances Artwork Links
Torture By Roses combines the talents of musician Abby Helasdottir and performance artist The Magdalene. Although the themes of the project range across Gnosticism and Western Magickal tradition, the focus is on the sexual, and particularly queer, undercurrents that are to be found in Christian mythology and iconography. Within what is often thought to be a prudish and intransigent religion, is a wealth of heretical ideas relating to homosexuality, transgressive sexuality, and the fluidity of gender and gender roles.
Torture By Roses was originally conceived in 1999 to create a one-off tape work that explored the legends of Salome and St. Sebastian; two figures from Christian tradition whose core stories have been adopted and elaborated upon by unorthodox artists for centuries. The work relied heavily on manipulated recordings of the opera Salome by Richard Strauss, and Claude Debussy's Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian.
These little-heard tape experiments were reprised in 2000 and 2001, where they were transferred to digital format and elaborated upon. Consisting of dark ambient soundscapes, deconstructed washes of classical music, and rising walls of sound. Sebastian~Salome was released on CD by Mediatrix Publishing in September 2001. A live work based on the Sebastian and Salome cycle was created by Abby Helasdottir and The Magdalene, but the performance of the piece was cancelled.
How Good To See The Moon

..The most recent work from Torture By Roses is called Ignis Spiritus: Liber Magdalena, and considers the role of Mary Magdalene as both a priestess, the beloved disciple, and as an embodiment of Sophia. Much of the form of the piece is derived from Gnostic texts such as the Gospel of Mary and the Pistis Sophia, in which Mary is presented in the priviliged position of one who knows the journey of the soul through the aeons and the archons. This work was premiered at the Darkness Gathering festival, October 26, 2002.

Contact: Abby Helasdottir ~ The Magdalene






Torture By Roses Gydja The Magdalene