Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Auslander, Philip. "Intellectual Property Meets the Cyborg: Performance and the Cultural Politics of Technology." Performing Arts Journal 14, no. 1 (January 1992): 30-42.

The technology of digital sampling challenges our traditional understanding of authorship, and the resulting ambiguities are reflected in our cultural and political environment. For instance, when the group Frankie Goes to Hollywood sampled Led Zeppelin's drummer John Bonham for their recording of Relax, who was the author? Was it John Bonham (who was deceased at the time)? Was it the sampling software? Donna Haraway, in her "Manifesto for Cyborgs," has argued that high-tech culture problematizes many of the binarisms built into our culture, and such destabilization can be politically useful. One artist who has exploited technology for politically useful ends is Laurie Anderson. In her film Home of the Brave she opens by lecturing the audience through a synthesized "male" voice, blurring the binarism of gender. She also samples the voice of William S. Burroughs, who is also silently present for one scene, playing with the dualism of recording and "liveness." Throughout her film, she goes on to challenge other dualisms such as speaking/singing, self/other, author/reader, and person/machine. Anderson's work provides a glimpse of the effect that technology can have on politics and culture.

Works: Frankie Goes to Hollywood (Peter Gill, Holly Johnson, Brian Nash, Mark O'Toole): Relax (31); Bobby Freeman (songwriter), Ula Hedwig (performer): Do You Wanna Dance (33); Bobby Freeman (songwriter), Bette Midler (performer): Do You Wanna Dance (33); Laurie Anderson: Home of the Brave (37-41).

Sources: Bobby Freeman (songwriter), Bette Midler (performer): Do You Wanna Dance (33); Bobbie Freeman (songwriter and performer): Do You Want to Dance (33).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Kerry O'Brien

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