Grinning Soul – David Bowie Cut-Up Installation
★ Made for 'Fuck You, Cancer - A David Bowie Tribute' at the Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne, 7 Feb 2016.
This is a slightly more irreverent, spontaneous, lo-fi and unashamedly sentimental piece of work, emerging from an idea to fill the bathrooms in the hotel with the voice of Bowie, as part of a long night of performance raising funds for the Peter McCallum Cancer Institute following his death. For fun, for healing, and for a cause. $5k+ was raised on the night.
This mashup of Bowie's thoughts, philosophies, musings, amusings, whistles, and vocals, was played on a loop in the restrooms all night. It was never intended to be hi-fi – played through iPods taped to the back of speaker PAs on stands in the male and female bathrooms. We felt that was most appropriate, there was an oddity to the concept of an installation being so obvious, and at the same time, the bathroom acoustics gave the voice a sense of disembodiment, of being far away...
It was created using the kind of cut-up techniques Bowie used for songwriting (developed by William S Burroughs) applying that concept to the gathering and then cutting together of audio clips. I essentially threw a lot of clips into Cubase gathered from wherever I could find them, and then cut them up and moved them around on the timeline, going back to develop rhythms from some whistles and loops of drums from the song Five Years to give us something to 'hang on to'.
"Take it with you.
Play it to your mum.
[he] will be our living end."