domingo, 2 de junio de 2013

Yoko Ono interview: 'Who's the best? Me'

The afternoon is overcast, and we’re inside. But Yoko Ono is still wearing a pair of shiny black shades. She studies me over the brims like a playful librarian, then springs up from the sofa of her luxurious hotel suite with such grasshopper vim that it’s hard to believe the woman John Lennon famously described as “the world’s most famous unknown artist” turned 80 earlier this year. “Energy is so important,” she likes to say. “If you don’t have it, don’t bother with rock and roll.

She’s in London in her role as curator of this year’s Meltdown Festival, which places an accent on “pure ‘female’ energy” in particular. Her line-up includes “powerful-headed” older women like Siouxsie Sioux, Patti Smith and Marianne Faithfull who she tells me has “created something incredible with her voice. She had that pretty voice when she was young and now she’s using this rich resonance. We fell in love with that. All of us women heard it and thought: we can do that. "Of course, we couldn’t. But she made us feel that we could. I think a lot of women learned from her that age is fine. And I think for Meltdown she’s going to be doing something very different from what she does usually. She’s still attempting to change.”

Ono has always been an avowed feminist. The first woman admitted to the philosophy program at Gakushuin University in Tokyo, she challenged cultural perceptions of female passivity through the music and performance art she was making long before she met her third husband, John Lennon, when he attended one of her exhibitions in 1966. He climbed a ladder leading up to a canvas suspended from the ceiling, with a spyglass hanging from it on the end of a chain. Through the glass he read the word “YES” printed in tiny letters. In a counterculture context in which the avant garde were against everything, her positivity appealed to his quirky sense of humour — and they fell in love.


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