The vulgarity of the year 2017, sweetened by ballet.
Why You Should Care:
Amanda Palmer began her career as an eclectic street artist, going from living statue to a punk pianist in the Dresden Dolls, to best-selling author. She is a vocal proponent of crowdfunding and other communal approaches to art, and never shy of controversy. With this video adaptation of a Pink Floyd classic, she outdoes herself (and unhinges our jaws) once again. “Mother” is not necessarily Palmer’s most shocking creation. She has a history of exploring darker themes (drugs, depression, death) with her share of blood, nudity, and profanity. But with “Mother” she reaches a new height of authenticity, merging her experience of motherhood (she and author Neil Gaiman had their first child in 2015) with the current American political and sociological climate.
Palmer has recast Roger Waters’ 38-year-old lyrics to address the literal and figurative “walls” of today and celebrate the role of motherhood in tearing them down. In hushed, motherly tones, backed by Jherek Bischoff’s fervid string arrangements, she frames the lyrics as a conversation between the President and his own deceased mother. Palmer and Bischoff are joined by dancers and instrumentalists, both adult and children, who seem to intentionally share a common life-giving, nurturing spirit.
The video and ballet end with Palmer breastfeeding a Trump-like character…you might just have to watch it to understand. Palmer dedicated this composition to the current administration, saying, “You will not build walls in our children’s hearts.” “Mother” holds its own as a protest song, but as a visual masterpiece, it may be Palmer’s most important work thus far, from one of the 21st century’s premier artist-activists.