Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pause for the Jet

I'm thinking about Kate Bush, lately. Contributing to a new piece that D was working on in a casual way - maybe it was laziness or disinterest, but don't many of the more interesting endeavors start off so flippantly? He's working on these new xerox pieces and this one was a whorl. Big and black, an amorphous cloud in the center of a frame. A text block was reserved for the as-of-yet determined text. I had put on the record for 'Hounds of Love' and it sat adjacent to D's work station. He asked me to dream up some copy for the box, and I sat blankly, attempting to come up with some "deracinated" language that refers back to its meaning construction - lends to the whorl in a way that creates tension in our understanding of this, that, and the Other. My eyes wandered from the screen and there she was with her hounds, peering out from her purple pool. I typed in "hounds of love" and he liked it.

I'm interested in Kate Bush. I'm interested because I know very little about her. In an effort to vary my endless project of fanatacism towards popular forms, I'm interested in Kate because there are those who have encyclopedic knowledge of her, she's one of these "hugely influentual" people that folks go gaga over and she's got a huge following. But I know precious little. What is Kate and why does she inspire this interest? I'm wanting to instigate a project around this disparity of knowledge, in lieu of my usual immersion. Traipse Kate, and the power that her conotations hold over others. Mention 'Hounds of Love' and you've got a terrific amount of baggage for some. It's a tidy tactic for harnessing feelings, cues that trigger responses. But this time, I'm keen on not having access to all of those tools. I'm interested in the economy.

(Kevin Killian's favorite Kate-inspired performance)

I don't even know the product of this project at present: this serves as initial notes and jottings. There's an interest in Kate because she's artful. She's Yoko Ono-y but arguably more successful (in her musical capacity, anyway). And then there's the matter of national pride. I think my interest in Kate arrives from how I feel the need for all of this contextualization in order to make sense of her career and output. The first time I saw the 'Wuthering Heights' video, someone put it on my Myspace wall and I though it was another clip from Stairway to Stardom, this Canadian public broadcast series that was popping up on youtube at the time, which I traced religiously. That this wild performance (which, I will admit, I found embarrassing without said context) would have ensnared a nation in 1974 is something that confounds me to this day. It's that narrative, that sell, perhaps that intersts me. There's this construction and understanding of the popular sound and song of the time. It seems like a really laborious thing to create now, a space that I have to fantasize harder at than someone like Bowie or The Supremes. Perhaps this challenge is what many find interesting in her work. (that German girl who won Eurovision pops up in my head in a really superficial way and I entertain a thesis about Europe and artfulness, challenge... But if there's anything I learned in Grad school, it's that the mention of a similarity between the UK and Europe results in a slap in the face).

Let the project commence. No easy answers so far... Be prepared.


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