Like the universe, Marina Abramović’s artistic practice is constantly expanding. Rooted in duration performance, it has grown over the years to incorporate photography, video, theatre, opera, pedagogy, virtual reality and, more recently, NFT (non-fungible tokens). Abramović’s latest sideways move is in the realm of pop music: he can now be heard giving voice to the universe on emerald seaa new concept album by New York dream pop duo Sound of Ceres, out June 17.
In lush symphonic sounds, the album tells the three-act love story of the universe (voiced in interludes by Abramović) and Venus, the Roman goddess of love, whose perspective is articulated by the singer. K Hover, one half (with Ryan Hover) of Ceres Sound. Rich in synths, harps and angelic choirs, the record effectively evokes the shimmering surroundings of the gods, while Abramović’s distinctive voice grounds the narrative.
In his spoken passages, Abramović recounts the universe’s pursuit of Venus through the heavens and the disc’s titular body of water. “I wake up in the forum, to find my gaze fixed on the sun,” she says at one point, addressing Venus on the song Arm of Golden Flame. “Then I will find you in the bedroom, calm, exquisite, and as you smile, an arm of golden flame covers your head.” A clip for one of the album’s most dramatic songs, The Fawn, even features Abramović’s disembodied head forming in the clouds to articulate its lines.
In an extensive interview with DizzyK and Abramović recalled the chance encounter during a residency at Brooklyn bar and concert venue Alphaville, which eventually led to their collaboration with Emerald Sea.
“Someone as powerful as Marina is the last person we expected to show up at this place where we were playing,” K said. “But I remember her standing right in front of me while I was playing, literally a few feet away, and stared at me the whole time. I think most people might find this intimidating, but I actually found it super inspiring; a warm, calming presence. After that, I felt remember she told me never to blink, which makes sense for her to say as a master to be present with her audience.
In other words, she took an improvised crash course in the Abramović method.