Monday, June 8, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

In the summer 2009 issue of ArtForum, the magazine is publishing a conversation between Rirkrit Tiravanija and Yoko Ono. The former is presenting at this year's Venice Biennale, and the latter is being honored with the Biennale's Golden Lion award. The preview of the phone interview on artforum's website is, uh, rich. Here's a snippet:


YOKO ONO: I’m here. You sound really distant; why is that? Is it your phone, or . . . ?

RT: Well, I am in Thailand. [laughter]

YO: Oh, of course, that’s right. So we’ll have to sort of stretch our ears. It’s very interesting, doing it like this, you know. But please go ahead. You wanted to ask me some questions?

RT: Well, something noteworthy to me is that it’s the fortieth anniversary of the Bed-In, and maybe we should talk about that. Many people have heard a little bit about that moment already, I think, but maybe you could say more.

YO: I do feel that it was a very interesting performance-art work, in the sense that it has stayed in people’s minds for such a long time.

RT: That was something I found myself quite interested in, actually, because Bed-In seems like something that happened in an almost completely natural way.

YO: Yes, it did begin as a rather natural thing to do. At least, you know, we were in bed. It wasn’t like standing around every night for four or five hours. It was very comfortable.

RT: But you had started it in Amsterdam, and then you went to Montreal, where you continued it, right?

YO: Montreal is a very, very beautiful, beautiful city. And we enjoyed that.

RT: And that was also when you recorded the song . . .

YO: Pardon?

RT: That’s also when you recorded the song.

YO: Yes, yes.

RT: And was the song just written in the bed?

YO: About what, the bed? This what?

RT: You wrote the song in the bed?

YO: [pause] You know, maybe you need to talk a little farther from the microphone or receiver.

RT: I just kind of continued on the question about the bed.

YO: Or maybe say it slowly.

RT: It’s about how you came to write the song that was set in the bed, right? [laughter]

YO: I think this is very interesting, the kind of challenge that we have been given. You’re an artist, and I’m an artist. And somehow we were given this incredibly strange situation where we have to communicate over a very, very long distance, which means a huge amount of air is between us.

Hopefully the fully published interview in the magazine issue is more than a chronical of "huhs?" and "whas?". If you'd like to read a little bit of reflection Rirkrit was able to squeeze out of Yoko, check out more of the interview at ArtForum online.

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