For hundreds of years, Italy was divided into regional kingdoms that lacked a cohesive official language. Writers and poets came to the rescue, fashioning a language shaped on the beauty of sound and the sentiment of love. Celebrated Italian author of La Divina Comedia, Dante Alighieri, said, “Beauty awakens the soul to act.”
And so it was that Italy was awakened and became as we know it today—from its wine to its cuisine and culture—an expression of love. On February 14th, conceptual artist, writer, and activist John Sims will bring Italy to you with “SquareRoot of Love,” an event of food, wine, and words in exploration of the expression of love. Featuring Poet Laureate of Florida Peter Meinke, Journalist and Civil Rights Pioneer Charlanye Hunter-Gault, Sarasota Orchestra Concert Master Daniel Jordan, Opera Singer Michelle Giglio, and The Scarlet Strings Quartet, the event seeks to explore the expression of love beyond the romantic to include ideas of connective attention, spiritual energy, community inclusion, and immersive conversation leading perhaps to reflect on the question: what is the square root of love? Where is the love in these complicated political times? And how can love, like food and drink, nourish our sense of universal humanity?
In preparation for this event, John Sims visited Italy with the owners of The Rosemary restaurant—George and Jessica Armstrong. In addition to exploring the galleries, churches, and restaurants of Tuscany, the trio were guests of the historic Medieval Castello di Querceto, where they reviewed and selected wine for this year’s SquareRoot of Love event. Sims has invited George and Jessica to create a 4 course menu that responds to the wines specially selected from Querceto and the complexity of love as inspired by both their trip to Italy and their extensive experience in fine cuisine. Sims says, “This dinner event, which first started here in Sarasota in 2012, is an opportunity to celebrate and re-affirm through food, drink, words, and music the complex dimensions of love and how it shapes the most vital parts of our humanity.”
SquareRoot of Love, as an installation, first appeared in New York City in 2010 in a duet exhibition and performance with Sims and musician and poet Karen Finley and has since traveled to various cities engaging the ideas of love with the help of art, poetry, performance, food, and drink. In 2017, Sims brought the project to Paris with a series of events featuring a wine tasting, a film screening, and poetry readings at the Berkeley Books in Paris. In 2018 the events were presented at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York, and Culture Rapide, Paris. On February 13, 2020, online literary magazine “The Rumpus” will publish its fourth SquareRoot of Love article by John Sims, featuring text presented at the February 14th Rosemary dinner with words from Peter Meinke and Charlayne Hunter-Gault.
Italian polymath Leonardo Da Vinci told us, “Life without love is not life at all.” Renaissance humanist, writer, and poet Giovanni Boccaccio added, “Heaven would indeed be heaven if lovers were there permitted as much enjoyment as they had experienced on earth.” I can think of no better way to ensure the joy of your loved one this Valentine’s Day than through song, wine, poetry, and cuisine at “The SquareRoot of Love.”
The event begins with a champagne reception from 6:30 – 7pm. Each course will be paired with a hand-selected wine and corresponding words or music by special guests. For reservations and more information, please contact The Rosemary at (941) 955-7600.
John Sims, a Detroit native, is a multi-media creator, writer and producer, creating projects spanning the areas of installation, text, music, film, performance and large-scale activism. His main projects are informed by mathematics, the politics of sacred symbols/anniversaries and the agency of poetic text. He has lectured and exhibited both nationally and internationally and his work has been covered in Art in America, Sculpture, Guernica Magazine, Transition, FiberArts, Science News, CNN, NBC News, New York Times, USA Today, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and the science journal Nature. He has written for CNN, Al Jazeera, The Huffington Post, Guernica, The Rumpus, and The Grio.
For more info on these events, please visit John Sims Projects
Photo from John Sims.