Friday, 15 January 2016

Post-avant-garde David Bowie

Blackstar cover; Bowie's 25th album
If you are watching Rage's six hour video marathon on David Bowie tonight and are inspired to discover or rediscover the depth and breadth of his influence, check out your library collection. Study of David Bowie's creativity fits across many disciplines.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes:David Bowie Is and the Stream of Warm Impermanence - a review of the touring exhibition
     (The) twentieth-century avant-garde influence on a  
     post-avant-garde Bowie is implicit in some of the exhibits
     included in David Bowie Is. In its display of a "verbasizer": a
     computer program that Bowie developed with Ty Roberts in
     1995 (for use on his underrated Outside album of the same   
     year. The programme is fed sentences from sources of any sort
     (news stories, journal entries,poetic musings) and then randomly rearranges the words it receives
     into new phrases that can be used to compose or inspire song lyrics. The process is a digitization  
     of a technique Bowie had been employing for years: the "cut-up" method. This involved using
     material print sources (newspapers, advertisements, poems) that Bowie literally cut up and
     rearranged into new and random configurations. He copied the technique from Burroughs, who 
     had taken it from his friend Brion Gysin, but who also recognized its origin in the collage
     techniques of Berlin dada (Murray, 2013)

Confronting Inauthenticity - Utopias of David Bowie
     The utopia of Bowie's work is not only situated in rejecting the normative gender and sexuality
     categories but also in rejecting the superficial realism that is often appropriated to artists as their
     specific voice and virtue. We are then given a brief overview of Bowie’s construction of his
     various visual identities, which shows how Bowie rejected the realism of the street in 1960s
     England – mostly inspired by the low-budget science fiction films of the time (Parunov, 2015)

Hallo Spaceboy: The Rebirth of David Bowie
     "Let's Dance put me in an extremely different orbit... artistically and aesthetically." Bowie said.
     "It seemed obvious that the way to make money was to give people what they want, so I gave
     them what they wanted, and it dried me up."
     In the past he had always followed his own musical instincts, "stubborn, obscure, confrontational
     in my own indulgent way." The results, the glam slam of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, the
     soul of Young Americans.., established him among the most creative, and creatively brilliant artists
     in rock 'n' roll history (Thompson, 2006, pp. 4-5).

Students of literature might be interested in David Bowie's reading list, featured earlier this week on the library's Facebook page. Bowie read and enjoyed Camus' The Stranger, Orwell's 1984, and McEwan's In Between the Sheets (among many others) and these are available in the University collection for you to read.

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