This is your brain on The National. You wake up, and the sun is shining, and the birds are chirping, and you actually got a seat on the bus or the train to work and it’s not because you’re accidentally sitting in pee. You got a text from someone you like. Everything is going well. Your smile is big and obnoxious. And then you accidentally listen to High Violet and suddenly you become a hung-over, sobbing mess.
This is obviously an extreme, but whether you’re trying to convey a lingering, sad-bastard, rainy-movie-scene sort of sorrow or something a bit deeper and existential, the kind of sorrow other languages than English have words for, The National tends to be a go-to band. So it’s pretty unsurprising that when Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson wanted to incorporate a singular work speaking to “romantic suffering and contemporary Weltschmerz” (German for “world pain”) into his piece A Lot of Sorrow for the Museum of Modern Art’s PS1, he goes with The National. Specifically, their gutting 2010 number “Sorrow,” performed live on a loop, for six hours straight.
As written on the MoMA website:
“As in all of Kjartansson’s performances, the idea behind A Lot of Sorrow is devoid of irony, yet full of humor and emotion. It is another quest to find the comic in the tragic and vice versa.”
If “by finding comic in the tragic” they mean “a bunch of people are gonna write snarky blog and Twitter posts about an attempt at an earnest meditation on sorrow,” then that’s a pretty apt description. And to the brave intern someone will inevitably make livetweet this experience, or suggest doing so themselves out of some duty to intense experiences, it’s okay to say “no” sometimes. You can leave. It’s okay.
[via ANIMAL New York]