[July 21 2016]
“The Last Hope” was a one-night performance piece held at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York in which Lizzi Bougatsos engaged with the late artist Harry Bertoia‘s mid-century Sonambient sculptures to create a partially improvised orchestral composition.
PAIGE SILVERIA — When did you first discover Harry Bertoia?
LIZZI BOUGATSOS — To be honest, I learned about him through Katerina Llanes who invited me to come and work with MAD. She and the chief curator at MAD, Shannon Stratton were working with Bertoia‘s heirs on the exhibition in general. When they came across the barn, I believe it was Shannon who wanted to invite a few selected musicians to record there. Katerina, aware of my John Cage project at MoMA, thought of me immediately.
PAIGE SILVERIA — What was your first impression of his Sonambient sculptures?
LIZZI BOUGATSOS — I was of course taken by the meditational quality, the calm the sculptures when playing made one feel. I immediately identified with the joy Harry must have felt creating them and playing them for years on end.
PAIGE SILVERIA — How did you conceive of the performance?
LIZZI BOUGATSOS — I brought some angst I was experiencing with the whole political campaign going on. Being a Bernie Sanders supporter, I am a huge supporter of the working class and under-privileged people in general so I was upset with the Hillary campaign and the corruption. There are so many people suffering. I saw playing the Sonambients as people themselves, sort of realizing all as one. “The Last Hope” is basically a cry for help or at least a plea for the people that really need it: Black Lives Matter etc. That is where I am at at the moment. I created a slide show that was projected as I was performing and it basically showed the corruption of Hillary‘s campaign and the contrasting grass-root organizations that are in effect. I figured I would target the elite (the audience) who would probably be mostly Hillary supporters. I wanted to spread my message of her evil. My goal was to subvert from within, the old situationist theory. I think had some effect.
Text Paige Silveria and photo Pola Esther