Hey there, is that you? My oh my, you look great!
Thx dear, you, erm...
I like your hood...
Very Bowie in Berlin, Low (1977) era...
I’ll check it out...
Wait, what? U killed that man and u’d never heard his Berlin trilogy?
No, I’d never heard his Berlin trilogy, I was always more into the
theatrical personas; the glam rock theater; for the people! Not elitist,
like so much avant-garde, black box bric-a-brac..
(gestures scratching with hand)
Chck out the claws on her, I’ll give u that. I misjudged
you, I figured you’d be all Underground LIT, cool-detached… But I agree.
However, the Berlin trilogy is an assault on theatre AND music for that
matter, as some might argue it put an end to both as we knew them...
A point we can agree on is the manner by which Bowie is remembered
in both disciplines: Theatrical and Musical at once…
And not only those two… I think that sums it up… Incredible, he thought
through reinvention and change.
(looks ruefully away)
Yes, I’m truly sorry for your loss. He has died, yet he lives too.
(rubs away tear but turns head and grabs make-up bag for concealer)
(long, awkward silence)
Everyone has their way of working, so do I u know, we have our rules....
I’m really good at what I do... Anyways, you can’t say we don’t work
for the same people. To move on one must leave behind, surely you
know this of all others?
I haven’t looked behind since Lady Die….
Do you ever just stop and think about what it is you’re doing, what are you?
A bird, a plane, Wonder Woman? Who are you?
I'm your baby sister
(grabs Death by cheek)
Yes, I know, very funny, family of decay… but seriously...
I don’t know...
I'm female because the two main categories were taken by men and things. Male and Neutral.
Female is neither, which I preferred. I’m like a recipe, I come together when things collide, ‘always crashing in the same car’ (Bowie, 1977). Perpetuum Mobile.
OK, CIcero, speak to me in layman’s terms, get off your high horse!
Si tu m’aide mon chevalier en armure brillante...
U play your cards right…
OK darling, Well, you know how we started this conversation ?
Yes, same as always, I complimented you on your shape, you are looking healthy… I can tell… Health must be in vogue or something cus not so long ago it was all heroin and marlboro lights.... Hmmm.. then you made some remark
about my style that I didn’t know if I should take it as a complement… Tbh, it felt like you were taking the piss...
I mentioned your hood, you always wear a hood, and gave it a marker,
(takes out phone)
It's an association, or analogy as a form of recognition. While it allows me to make
sense of you, you in your turn have to reassess that which you thought, perhaps, was strictly yours.
You said I looked well, which is nice, it’s a formal comment that is nice and brusque.
I retorted by commenting on your hood, an aspect of your ‘look’ that obscures precisely that. The hood, or habit to which it belongs, is a strange example of fashion. Agamben wrote about it. To wear the habit, with its belt, hood, and neutral colour, as when donned by monks, ‘was an example of a way of life’ (Agamben, 2013, p.15). The habit is a visualization of the renunciation of vanity.
(looks confused for a moment)
a contradiction... but fashion loves those...
Anyheuw, by complimenting you on that, there remained the suggestion that the way it concealed your face was what was in fact nice about it.
(looks away hurt and confused)
Aww, my little smoochy-poo, come here you
(wraps arm around Death)
While you put out the lights, I turn on another, I want to see where things go...
Let’s stick to our story…
The hood is by no means neutral, as the monks intended them to be: the fashion of renunciation: perhaps the most glamorous look of all! I think this is what the Bowie album cover stands testament to.
Because the idea of neutrality, Maleness, Nudity, Truth, Normal, these are highly fashionable constructs…
(pauses for rhetorical effect)
See this hood?
David Hammons - In the Hood, 1993
This is a reference to the hoodies worn by young, black men living in the slums in America. Here, the hooded identity of the young black male is in terms of their fashion statement both an escape from their racial identification – a daily nuisance resulting in their being mistakenly or purposefully murdered by police – and a signification of what they represent in a society that doesn’t recognize them as equals; a disidentification, to borrow Munoz’ term. David Hammons hung the black hoody up upon the white walls of the white cube gallery. A fashion statement. Art can’t even represent racial bias, it’s too busy with what it can see: it’s white self.
OK, yeah that’s strong, I admit. It’s simple and I like that. Black and white.
The Sun begins to shine. Death looks up and begins to wiggle his head while removing his hood to reveal the chalk-white complexion of his skull. He lets the sun shine right through his empty eye-sockets.
(repeats to himself now)
That’s good... Black and white.
Well, I guess you’re the only white 'person' who can make a
remark like that...
Death takes a deep Ouija Breath, as it becomes quite clear he is not listening. He takes out a spliff, ignites it and smokes while blowing huge smoke-rings. Fashion watches him in amusement, amazed at the fact that he doesn’t offer her anything.
Rae Jepsen, C. (2019) The Sound [video] Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o0EN7CoLao [accessed 31 january 2020]
Manchev, B. (2015) The New Arachne: Towards a poetics of dynamic forms. Avalable from: <https://boyanmanchev.net/en/books-and-essays/philosophy/the-new-arachne.html> [Accessed on 1 April 2020]
Agamben, G. (2013) The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life. Stanford: Stanford University Press
Bowie, D. (1977) Low [Vinyl]. Produced by TonyVisconti and Brian Eno. Los Angeles: RCA.
Hammons, D. (1993) Hood. New York: Mnuchin Gallery. Available from https://news.artnet.com/market/david-hammons-at-mnuchin-482738 [Accessed 10 April 2020]