Dum Dum Girls – Coming Down /vid
I confess. It was all jangles and chorus for me when i heard this ballad from the Dum Dum Girls a couple of years ago. And of course, Dee Dee’s voice. The video shows her telling her despair as random folks put scissors through her outfit.
She’s letting her. She’s letting her cutting her up. Or not. Now a guy. They’re really getting into her. I couldn’t get over it: her reactions, their actions, her composures , their didactions. This time, i’m hooked. I imagine Dee Dee driving those slow lines in a concerted compassion. You abuse the ones who love you; You abuse the ones who won’t. If you ever had a real heart; I don’t think you’d know where to start.
What can i say. Different contexts, different meanings.
The video apparently follows Yoko Ono’s art performance, Cut Piece. It had one simple but destructive verb as its instruction: “Cut.” First performed in 1964 at the Sogetsu Art Center in Tokyo, legend goes one man held up the scissors in a mock attack–Yoko was less afraid than disappointed. Here’s the video showing the performance the following year at Carnegie Hall.
Yoko On enacted Cut Piece as an expression of her hope for world peace. In 2003, post 9/11, “a time where we need to trust each other”, she performed it for the last time, this time in front of mass media.
The work is interactive; what’s created is what the audience make of it. And since this is a song about relationships, i think of, too, of the evolving form and shape our relationships take via papercuts and dagger rips outside of an few-minute clip. Let’s take a swill with this quote:
Art is inexorably bound up in the situation where it is produced and where it is experienced. You can emphasize this, or you can emphasize where it is produced or experienced: you can even equate them, and emphasize the equation. The relationship exists in any case, and, either as artist or as audience, we are in a situation analogous to a swimmer who may fight the surf, dive through it and struggle against it until he gets out beyond where the surf is noticeable: or else this swimmer can roll with the waves.
Dick Higgins, Postface (1964)
In art and in love, between parties there’s assumed trust (has to be), unpredictability, and sometimes slow, slow violation (tempting). Both produce a third entity. In love’s more organic dance, however, boundaries are inevitably tested and broken, but just as quickly though, is the opportunity to heal what you’ve encroached upon. The invasive hand also illuminating love.
When that hand is love’s lost, breakdowns occur because, i mean, watch the video. And initial love’s high dissipates.
I close my eyes to conjure up something
But it’s just a faint taste in my mouth
By tomorrow I’ll be leaving
By tomorrow I’ll be gone
If you want to tell me something
You had better make it strong
‘Cause I think I’m coming down
I think I’m coming down