14 September 2012

Of human whale songs, and monsters

Antony and the Johnson's title track from their 'Cut the World' live album is, indeed, old news, being that it's already been performed as part of The Life and Death of Marina Abramović. What brings it back to the stage is the above avantgarde video directed by  Nabil Elderkin, and starring Willem Dafoe and Carice van Houten.

Her presence strongly felt throughout the video (at the very least as from 3:49), it's still a shock to find her facing you at 4:14 into the video. It's Marina Abramović, that same Serbian witch-lady at MOMA whom people went to sit across from in order to gaze into her staring, starless eyes. And people never knew the risk they took. She might just as easily tie their hair, with hers, into a single braid. And that would not be her first, either. Artists, she insists, must sacrifice themselves. And artists who sacrifice themselves will not waver from sacrificing the audience.

It's not difficult for me to understand why Abramović, the first time she heard Antony perform (at a Rufus Wainwright's concert), stood up and demanded, with loud repeated shrieks: "Who is he? WHO IS HE?"

"People around me were complaining," she would explain later, "but I was compelled. I kept saying out loud: 'Who is he?' I wanted to know everything about him."

Antony, known to refer to his own singing as a 'hex', also has a witch-air about him. Whether experienced as eerie, other-wordly or heartbreaking, Antony's singing binds with enchantments. Paired with Abramović's creative (and equally, if not more, spell-binding)  mind, they gave birth to the most beautiful of ethereal child-monsters. It's only a matter of time before they breath life into its body, too. And lo and behold.

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