Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dan Graham's Rock My Religion

In the early 80's conceptual artist Dan Graham made Rock My Religion, a film that endeavored to understand the links between rock music and religion in contemporary culture. In a description of the film on the Ubuweb site, it states:

"Graham formulates a history that begins with the Shakers, an early religious community who practiced self-denial and ecstatic trance dances. With the "reeling and rocking" of religious revivals as his point of departure, Graham analyzes the emergence of rock music as religion with the teenage consumer in the isolated suburban milieu of the 1950s, locating rock's sexual and ideological context in post-World War II America."

The film is almost a full hour long, but is well worth the time. It feels particularly applicable to American culture even today, almost 25 years after its release. The evangelical crusade against the "subversiveness" of popular culture, and specifically against rock & roll, makes Graham's film an interesting meditation on religious and cultural ideologies.

Image © Dan Graham