a short thought on yoko ono's "voice piece for soprano":
i studied this piece years ago in college, in a class full of people who did not understand or recognize the beauty behind avant-garde artwork, myself included. when people don't understand something, they are made to feel uncomfortable. when people are uncomfortable, they tend to mock in order to compensate, in order to make something more naturalized.
years later, i find myself drawn back to this piece of artwork (music). i find that this piece may be the best representation for what it means to be an artist. it is just vague enough that it elicits a reaction--whether that reaction is controversial, condescending, or awesome, i suppose that is up to the observer, much like all art.
the text of this is particularly striking. for me, i interpret this as "scream against everything," be true to exactly who you are, regardless of what obstacles you might face--scream against everything.
when we watched yoko perform this piece of art in MOMA (museum of modern art), we, much like the audience, found the performance humorous and embarrassing. coming back to this now, i see that yoko is screaming against everything, refusing to be anything but herself in spite of the world. this hits home for me. growing up, my life was exactly this. i burned against others, despite their best wishes to see otherwise. growing up as an LGBT youth in a small rural community prepared me for many things. it helped me learn to "scream against the wind, wall, and sky". sometimes artwork takes a long time to digest. i guess this particular piece of art spoke to me just in time.
thank you, yoko, for creating my existential war cry--for creating a masterpiece eliciting the important questions. what is art? what is music?
i think art and music can and should be whatever you need them to be. for me, this piece of music is an existential realization to always be true to myself and to never back down in the face of opposition.
for others, like me years ago, i guess it provides a sense of comic relief. i only hope that others who were once as ignorant as i, can truly come to appreciate this great piece of artwork. i stand humbly before this great artist.
VOICE PIECE FOR SOPRANO
against the wind
against the wall
against the sky