jonathantdneil.com

Archive for the ‘Laurie Anderson’ tag

ARTICLE: Laurie Anderson | ArtReview

without comments

By the time you read this, Fenway Bergamot may or may not have announced that he is running for president of the United States. That is inconsequential. Not that Bergamot may or may not run for president of the United States. Well, actually, yes, that is inconsequential too, because it is only repeating what was inconsequential about the statement before, which is that Bergamot may run for president or he may not, and that is pretty much the same as saying that you may or may not run for president, or that I may or may not run for president. Really, this is simply a way of saying that Fenway Bergamot exists, and saying that he may or may not run for president is also simply a way of proposing two potential worlds, one where Bergamot runs for president, and one where he does not. The interesting thing is that those two worlds simply describe one world, this world, the current world, in its entirety, which is the world in which Fenway Bergamot may or may not run for president of the United States – on the Republican ticket, by the way.

Fenway Bergamot is Laurie Anderson. This is consequential, though also not wholly accurate. Fenway Bergamot is the name recently given by Lou Reed (Anderson’s partner of 20 years, and husband for the past two) to the voice that Anderson has used throughout her career at moments when she needed to give voice to one other than her own. Some have called Bergamot Anderson’s alter ego, a character that she invented for her performances; but it is important to remember that Bergamot is first and foremost a voice, one that embodies a distinct kind of American authority, our big Other as philosophical talking head, a ventriloquist for the invisible hand of the market, a voice of power plugged into an AC circuit (Anderson has a thing for Nikola Tesla) – or as Anderson would probably say, a blowhard.

So to say that Bergamot is Anderson’s alter ego is to go too far, because with Anderson’s work, it’s not ego, it’s voice. Fenway Bergamot and Laurie Anderson share the same voice, as they do, for example, on Another Day in America, a track from Anderson’s celebrated studio album Homeland (2010; that’s Fenway’s smug mug on the cover). Yet even this is not accurate, because their two voices could not be more distinct, even in their identity…

Read the rest in the April Issue of ArtReview or online at ArtReview Digital.

Written by Jonathan T. D. Neil

March 27th, 2011 at 4:37 pm