Domus aurea

Jan 18, 02:00 PM

"Domus Aurea' came directly out my ongoing fascination with Italian history and larger artistic interests. Firstly, it is about two very specific historical things. It is about the Domus Aurea, which from I understand is no longer accessible.

To quote Wikipedia, "It was a vast landscaped complex built by the Emperor Nero largely on the Oppian Hill in the heart of ancient Rome after the great fire in 64 AD had destroyed a large part of the city" It was re-discovered "When a young Roman inadvertently fell through a cleft in the Esquiline hillside at the end of the 15th century" and "he found himself in a strange cave or grotto filled with painted figures". I was fascinated by this buried, decadent complex and the grotesque figures that covered its walls. My own musical endeavors feel fitting to the grotesque, buried opulence of the Domus Aurea.

My song is also about another historical incident - around the same time as the young Roman came upon the Domus Aurea, a marble tomb was unearthed that contained an almost perfectly preserved young Roman girl from around the biblical age. Romans of the late 1400's were obsessed with her and what she represented. They were obsessed at the time with returning to their own earlier culture, and what she represented was very important to them. I am also fascinated with female bodies have been used and depicted in history and she is a fascinating subject in that regard, especially myself being a female artist.

My song includes text translated into English about how she was regarded. All of this historical fact is important to this song as I grappled with my own artistic fascination with what lies hidden beneath. I used these broadcasts on Christmas Day from the Vatican to engage with the duality of very present and fleeting merriment with the idea of rich, buried history."

Composition by Domenica Diavoleria.

Part of the Shortwave Transmissions project, documenting and reimagining the sounds of shortwave radio - find out more and see the whole project at