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'Look up here, I'm in heaven': how visual and performance artist David Jones called attention to his physical death

Death constitutes an end to consciousness for the departed, while for the living it represents an event out there in a world of objects. The memory of David Bowie as a celebrity was certain to live on via documented images, music and performances, irrespective of the cessation of the acting subject David Jones. When reviewing the single ‘Lazarus’ upon its release in 2016, British journalist Kitty Empire expressed an unwillingness to interpret it as Bowie’s swansong. Her rationale – ‘the starting point for analysis [of Bowie] has never been lived experience’. Yet, this article considers how, had Bowie not served as an agent of his prospective memory and addressed his death directly via his final musical iteration, he may not have died at all in a socially networked society flooded with boundless media content. This article explores how the assured endurance of Bowie’s oeuvre and his standing as a revered cultural icon almost necessitated a reorientation of public engagement with his death in the modern age in order to acknowledge death as an end state that stands in contrast to ‘being’.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Schott, G. R.(2019). ‘Look up here, I’m in heaven’: how visual and performance artist David Jones called attention to his physical death. Celebrity Studies, 10(1), 140–152. https://doi.org/10.1080/19392397.2018.1559126
Taylor & Francis
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Celebrity Studies on February 15, 2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/19392397.2018.1559126.