Tim Etchells, Starfucker, Down Time & Readings

Review in Issue 13-4 | Winter 2001

‘Tom Cruise on an operating table. Susan Sarandon’s head in a bucket. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a room that is slowly filling up with human shit.’

Starfucker is a litany of prayers and profanities, a recited list poem that slots into an honourable tradition – poets from Andrew Marvell to John Giorno having used this winning technique. The names of Hollywood stars are ‘stolen, used and abused’ to create a mesmerising piece of performance poetry that uses all the traditional tricks of prosody – repetition, rhythm and resonance – to give a seductive frame to the sacrilege.

Down Time is that rare thing: an interesting and innovative use of video footage with interactive live performance. A Cine Verité style fixed camera records every frown and flicker of thought of a few minutes in Tim Etchells’ life. The real live Etchells recounts the thoughts and memories that he remembers occurring whilst the filming took place. It is thus a multi-layered reflection on the processes of thought and experience, a metaphysical piece of art that deals with the essence of human existence – human consciousness and its inevitable relationship to memory and self-awareness.

The readings were from the recently published Dream Dictionary for the Modern Dreamer (Etchells’ entertaining exploration of modern myth and archetype) – chosen by opening the book at random. There were also two stories from Endland which I found less interesting – the stories have a fin-de-siècle feel that seems already dated. Short fiction seems to me to be the least successful outlet for Tim Etchells’ extraordinary writing talent and artistic vision – but as he is so good at everything else he touches, this hardly seems to matter.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-4
p. 24