SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

80 Langton Street

Doug Hall, Songs of the 80s (12th September 1981)



Based on a series of performances, the five episodes in Songs of the 80's examine themes of displacement, anger and containment. Metaphors for contemporary social and political tensions and the fragility of postmodern culture are realized with techniques such as slow motion, staccato editing and extended dissolves. In Fear of Falling and Sounds of Glass, power plants, flowers set aflame, a man tilted precariously in a chair, and a glass shattering are signs of a rigidly controlled society teetering on the edge of disintegration. Through the Room and Leaning forward Gracefully explore the isolation and disorientation of the human figure through dissolves and fragmentation. In These Are the Rules, Hall's performance as a demagogue who shouts out social "rules" contrasts the theater and spectacle of dictatorial pageantry with its empty rhetoric — the victory of form over content, style over substance. (Electronic Arts Intermix 2013a)