Joe The Lion, 2012

Joe The Lion is the second track on David Bowie’s 1977 album, “‘Heroes”.

According to several sources, including Wikipedia, the track was inspired in part by the performance artist Chris Burden. Burden seems to have been interested in using visceral experiences as works of art – he famously had himself shot in the arm at close range, and on seperate occasions (come on!) had himself nailed to a VW Beetle, and disguised under a tarpaulin on a busy freeway (my personal favourite – high stakes indeed).

In 1999, I got to see Burden in action at the Tate Gallery (as Tate Britain was known in those days (and where I was working as a fundraiser). He was working on a sculpture, When Robots Rule: The Two Minute Airplane Factory, which was a great idea – a completely automated toy airplane factory, which would also launch the planes as it finished them. It didn’t work for a significant portion of the exhibition’s length, and I’m not sure it ever did fly a plane, but a thing of beauty it was – and an interesting performance with all the technicians working to get the thing going.

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I’m still experiencing connection problems, so apologies if I’ve not made it to your blog in the last day or so – I’m crawling round the internet like a drunk spider.