Portrait of a Young Man
(Maastricht / Boschstraat 46)
Bronski Beat was a band that was very popular in the 80s, especially due to lead singer Jimmy Somerville’s high-pitched voice. He used his unique, husky, whistle-like voice as an instrument in its own right. A high-pitched voice is often associated with homosexuality. Many singers with this type of voice try to downplay these associations by singing explicitly normative heterosexual lyrics. Somerville was one of the first to connect his falsetto voice to lyrics related to homosexuality, making his homosexuality very clear. Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay (1973) takes this voice as a point of departure for his newest video Portrait of a Young Man and translates it in three different language systems: Flower arranging, astronomy, and the silent gestures of American Sign Language. They are combined in an experimental portrait of a spectacular voice that defies easy description. The work bridges the vocal ideas about male and female, adult and child, human and animal.
Another piece by Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, Je changerais d’avis is also included in Paraphrasing Babel, Heerlen, Wilhelminaplein 4.