Broadcast through a Brother
At the top of his career, from 1936 to 1956, Edgar Bergen, a celebrated ventriloquist, performed with his magnetic dummy Charlie McCarthy, on radio. His illusory talent for appearing not to be speaking while speaking captured an audience that could not see him.
Bergen, the son of Swedish immigrants in Chicago, taught himself ventriloquism at the age of 11. As a teenager he was working at a silent movie theatre and giving performances at a nearby church. Lars and Steven Cuzner, as children in Sweden, grew up listening to recordings of Bergen. They would take turns to practice channeling two voices from a single source, alternating between using the other brother as the dummy. Thereby projecting themselves outside of the self and entering the other’s body, the other’s character. Broadcast through a Brother is the speech of a figure that has manifested over time in suspended ventriloquism throughout their lives, allowing one brother to imagine what the other is prepared to do, or say. Today they share an encoded relationship that is preset with cues, not only to what the other might say, but also to the tone and the style of its delivery.
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