I started to perform it before it was finished. I’m not sure I told The Kitchen that. But I knew I was going to finish it. So anyway, that double bill you mentioned, which was the first time The Kitchen had a literature event, I performed the first three volumes. At that time, and still now, there’s this thing called readings, right? And if you are a writer you give readings. And some of you may have already visited the website and read this, so I’m repeating, but to get ready for my first reading, which The Kitchen had agreed to, I sat in my kitchen rehearsing the text, rehearsing the text. And I noticed at some point I wasn’t looking at the pages any longer. And it was sort of, “Aha.” […] And I imagined that for you and for me, we were in real time and this narrative was constructing itself in the moment. It wasn’t something I’d finished and it was on paper and I’m reading you the past, if that makes sense.
So I had an affinity for language as time-based. I started performing. I made a quick step into being interested in speaking text into sound, into audio. And I set about finishing the book. And when it was finished, producing a one-hour radio version of it, with Foley, four speakers. I asked Philip Glass, he wrote various thematic music—could you hear that? That’s one of the themes, it’s called The Modern Love Waltz. It’s Philip playing on a Farfisa—it’s a keyboard—a number of times, and then we built it up.
So I do the radio audio work, I have an hour of material, and it’s a work, and I have a book. I disassemble both of them, or adapt from both of them, to make a continuous narrative that I can perform. So in performance now, it’s intruded on by them. It can be intruded on by prerecorded material, another voice, and I talk to that voice, or some musical material, or some things like that.
P.S., Matthew said here, at The Kitchen. The Kitchen was on Broome Street. Do you all know this? You know, in an old loft building, like artist-rented SoHo, on Broome Street. Can you imagine? The street toward West Broadway, the block toward West Broadway. Truck central, and one of the noisiest streets in Manhattan, with these giant windows. But it had its charm.
— Constance DeJong recalling her 1976 performance of Modern Love, April 4, 2017, THE KITCHEN