Yoko Ono

whisper piece in london


By Sari Gurney/AIU, September 2004

On September 15th 2004 Yoko Ono organized a special event called Whisper Piece in Tate Britain, London. For those who follow her career, know what I mean when I say it was a typical ONO lecture. Meaning, it was Yoko Ono on stage "just doing her thing".

First, she tried to find her comfort zone with the chair on the stage (for examples of this, see several photos from a similar event by Yoko Ono at Memorial Hall, Pratt Institute in 2002),

then she did vocal modulations to the background music of I Want You To Remember Me from her latest album Blueprint For A Sunrise (2001),

and then she teased another poor art critic who played the unfortunate part of Serious Art Establishment by being Very Boring in his almost nonsensical babble about Yoko's art "theoretically". He asked her some questions, but she ignored him completely. It was a joke, of course. It was her way of teasing critics and other people who try to pidgeon-hole her, to theorize her to death. Several times during the event (aka "lecture") she made it clear that she's just a human who has just done her thing and that's all.

"Ask the dragon why she’s crawling with eight legs
And she says dunno I’m just doing it."

After the joke session with the critic (she even measured his head and limbs as he went on with his art theory babble -- and he blushed as Yoko teased him!), there's was a Q&A, which lasted quite long with several questions from the audience being asked from Yoko. There were many questions about her art and persona (even about her tinted glasses, if she wore the rose coloured glasses for this event specially -- she didn't), some questions about John Lennon, only one regarding the Beatles (Apple computers vs. Apple the Beatles company: she wasn't interested, told them it was "a legal question".).

Before the event, all members of the audience were given a miniature torch with the text ONOCHORD London y.o. 2004 printed on them, along with an instruction postcard for ONOCHORD (how to say "I love you" with light signals in ONOCHORD). She continued to light signal "I love you" to the audience throughout the lecture, smiling all the time.

Not to anyone's surprise, I imagine, she talked at length and with great enthusiasm about peace and how we can accomplish it, just by "being against the war industry, we are for peace industry".

"Let's all meet in ten years to put the vase together again"

After the event, her assistants brought in a large broken vase which was offered to the audience: she instructed everyone to take each one fragment of the broken vase, and come back in ten years to mend it together again.

None of the evening's events were a surprise to me, but being there in person was a great thrill. She has great charisma, she seems so sweet and so human.

People seem ready to think about alternative possibilities to live this life, to live in peace instead of just accepting what negative forces try to tell us. We need all the positive communication we can get. Yoko Ono speaks of hope and alternative possibilities, so keep up the good work, Yoko, and everyone else too!


arrow Watch ONOCHORD documentary by Yoko Ono



© Sari Gurney
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