composer, performer and sound designer

Hildegarde Von Bingen – The Threads of the Air

A podcast drawing on the botanical writing of Hildegard von Bingen, a twelfth-century Christian mystic, reflecting on personal experiences of illness, healing and the turn of the season. Created for Camden Art Centre’s exhibition ‘The Botanical Mind’, with producer Alannah Chance.

This podcast was created in London during the first Covid lockdown, in the weeks Sarah was recovering from the virus. She aimed to create a sonic fever dream, using fragments of Hildegard’s texts on herbal medicine and her ecstatic visions.

In May 2020, a time when we were facing a new pathogen that revealed the limits of modern medicine, it seemed easier to feel an affinity with those who experienced contagions in Hildegard’s time. Sarah discusses how Hildegard’s progressive approach to washing rituals and the observation of nature reverberate through the ages – in the early days of the pandemic more than ever. Ahead of the delivery of the Covid vaccine, we relied on measures that would not have seemed unfamiliar to Hildegard, in the absence of a cure.

 This podcast features music which Sarah extemporised in response to Hildegard’s writing on The Threads of The Air. In this, Hildegard describes the purifying properties of the air as summer comes and goes.

Hildegard von Bingen's wheel depicting earth and the heavens