Anohni’s Hopelessness cover.
In the video for Drone Bomb Me (directed by Nabil with Riccardo Tisci as artistic director) Anohni had already called upon the services of Naomi Campbell. She told us, “The idea of my voice being embodied by Naomi Campbell in the video takes the song to a whole new level of universality. It’s no longer just my words, but a universal discourse carried by an icon of femininity. Naomi also brings her own power and innocence to the song. Her performance is impressive. I like the idea of my voice being an independent entity, separate from my body. It opens interesting creative perspectives because it means that my voice can be embodied by anyone, anywhere.”
Above all this mise-en-scene successfully makes the works more nuanced. Onstage Anohni is fired up and furious as she intones “I am sorry”, while above her a young woman weeps heavy tears. Sadness and fury blend to express a complex and moving human condition, a world away from the short cut sensationalism of mere numbers. The damp eyes of all the invited personalities said much more than any figure or statistic ever could.
Affirming the truth is always going to be better received that opening complex issues. But that’s the role of the artist.
Even better she allows everyone, according to their sensitivity and willingness to see what they want to see. It’s a revolt against the egotism of men. A belief in a better future… Of course there were some who left mid show. Apparently even more walked out in other cities. Asserting simple truths is always going to be better received that opening complex issues. It’s also undoubtedly because the subtlety of the world’s approach and the human soul plus the poetic power of Anohni requires a bit of effort. But the best things in life are worth it.
Hopelessness by Anohni (Rough Trade Records). Available.
By Thibaut Wychowanok