Rock My Religion, Dir. Dan Graham, USA, 1984, 55 mins, English
This screening is followed by a conversation with director, artist and curator Dan Graham hosted by writer and critic John Slyce.
Rock My Religion is an assemblage of stories, music, text, and film that examines and reconstructs the relationship between alternative religions and rock music in their development and practice.
The film explores historic American religious practices, including Native American, Puritan, and Shaker rituals, and the emergence of rock musicians like Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis and The Doors. Rock is interpreted as a religion with the potential for communal transcendental experience, but one that supplants traditional pieties with sexualized religious dance. Graham focuses on the social and sexual origins and implications of rock and roll, and his historical reconstruction provides a framework for the interpretation of the rituals of rock and punk culture as forms of religious practice.
Dan Graham was born in Urbana, Illinois, USA in 1942 and lives and works in New York, USA. He has had solo exhibitions across the world, most recently at Sirius Arts Centre in County Cork, Ireland. Among numerous awards, he has received the Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation Award, Zurich, Switzerland (1992), the French Vermeil Medal, Paris, France (2001) and was honoured by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, USA in 2010.
John Slyce is a writer and critic based in London. He has written extensively on the work of Sarah Sze, Gillian Wearing, Michael Landy, Carey Young, Cullinan Richards, Allen Ruppersberg, Rodney Graham, Pipilotti Rist, Charles Avery and Becky Beasley and has regularly contributed essays, reviews and interviews to major art magazines and journals since the 1990s. His conversation and collaborations with Dan Graham reach back nearly as far. Slyce is a also senior tutor at the Royal College of Art and is located in the painting programme within the School of Arts and Humanities.