Songs that got stuck in my head, 2010
22×30”, branding iron on paper
I stumbled across the technique before I developed the concept. While at a local toy store this spring, I saw a novelty branding iron with a moveable typeface. Intended for use with a backyard BBQ, the host could sear a steak or burger with the name of a guest. I purchased the iron knowing I could use it in an artistic process, but didn’t know how.
A few weeks later, the concept met the technique. The song Wonderwall by British band Oasis got stuck in my head. I thought I might exercise the song, which was now burned into my grey matter, by burning the title onto a piece of paper. The use of smoke and fire seemed suitably ritualistic for the extrication of the song, but that the tool was decidedly suburban was nice. Thereafter I began making notes of what songs got stuck and when.
I soon discovered that the amount of burning changes the way the song title is perceived. Neil Young’s Look Out for My Love read like a threat when the paper was really charred and like a barely audible plea when the paper was just lightly singed.
And fair warning: there is potential of contagion. If a viewer reads the title and recognizes the song, there is a good chance it will then become stuckin their head.