Second Song: Live at Red Square


Second Song: Live at Red Square
Alighiero Boetti inserted an “e” between his first and last name dividing his subject into two autonomous identities: Alighiero and (e) Boetti. His Twins, 1968 (a photomontage of the artist alongside a life-size copy of himself) signified an ironic gesture of authorial nominalism, a doubling of signatures, a destabilization of authorship and style. One becomes two; a twinning leads to an imaginary collaboration. In a world that operates within a system of regulated information (demographics, boundaries, history, language, etc.), this nameplay provides an insightful commentary on authenticity in an age of endless reproduction.

Lam is interested in a hypothetical collision of the biographies of John Lennon and Vladimir Lenin, where the latter will narrate the life of the former, and vice versa. Using biographical data, archival footage, and their writings as readymade, the project simulates a dialectical exchange (October Revolution meets the Beatles and the Anti-war Movement). The project deals with the possibility of reinvigorating a leftist political imaginary and the promise of a collective utopia.

For Eyebeam Circuit, Lam will exhibit a prototype of the second installment to his Lenin/Lennon series, entitled Second Song: Live at Red Square. Mixing concert footage of Paul McCartney’s In Red Square 2005, with footage shot of the Red Square Building on East Houston, New York City, the video installation borrows from the mechanics of the body switch movies in the 70s and 80s.

Scrambling the phrase “Live/live at Red Square” and conflating a “concert for the free” with free-market real estate, the work traces the flow of information within a globalized mediascape, addressing the discourse of mourning, displacement and remakes.

In addition to being a homage to John Lennon and Vladimir Lenin, Second Song is inspired by the writings of Annette Michelson, Three Songs for Lenin, by Dziga Vertov, and the work of Jia Zhangke.


Project Created: 
September 2005
People: Steven Lam
Tags: video