THE GREAT PRETENDER

 

2015   Made in Brazil and Japan

 

 

 

 

 

Work format: Video installation (Dimension variable)

  

Materials:  Two projecter, two DVD players, translucent screen

 

 

Introduction:

This two-screened video installation is composed by two videos, identically setting the scene. Two ladies sing a song named “The Great Pretender” by the Platters from 1956. It appears as though the ladies are pretending to be each other, but the point is what they are actually pretending to be.

 

In 1956, the song “The Great Pretender” was the first record by an African American singing group to reach the number one position in the US pop chart.   

The song itself is about a man who is hiding his true self and pretending that he is fine.

In a certain point of view, it could be interpreted as though he does this in spite of wearing a white mask, separating from his culture and his true self. 

 

In the 21st century under globalized capitalism, regardless of any scientific rationales, many non-English speaking countries are having local discussions about a common fear that their mother languages are facing a crisis; that the English language might destroy or alter them and their relevant cultures. This kind of discussion, taking place in so many areas of the world, is now seemingly becoming a cliche.

 

However, when two identical actions take place in tandem in different countries, and when the song is triumphantly sung by non-native English speakers, a contemporaneousness is shown over myopic cliches and reveals different levels of homophily.

The Great Pretender

The Platters (1956)

 

 

© Qenji Yoshida 2019