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Constance DeJong

(New York, New York, United-States)

Constance DeJong has cultivated a career as a writer and a performance, video, and new media artist since the late seventies. In 1978, she became a published writer with her first novel, Modern Love, which she adapted into a 60-minute radio text. Famed contemporary composer Philip Glass wrote a score of original music (Modern Love Waltz ) for this serialized novel. DeJong has toured extensively across Canada, Europe and the United States, giving spoken word performances of her narratives and collaborating with many other successful artists. DeJong is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1980, 1986) and a NYFA New Genres Grant in 1990. Her published works include Modern Love (1977), Five (1986) and I.T.I.L.O.E. (1993). Her fiction has also been anthologized in Blasted Allegories, Wild History, and Top Top Stories. (1)

In 1980, DeJong paired up once more with Glass, this time on the libretto and book for his opera Satyagraha. In the late eighties, DeJong began working with video artist Tony Oursler and has since teamed up with him on a whole range of projects. Joyride TM (1988), one of their first collaborations, was included in the 1989 Whitney Biennial. This 15-minute videotape offers a metaphorical exploration of theme park and museum culture. Presented at the same event was Relatives (1989), a performance collaboration between the two that integrated spoken word and video. To date, Relatives has been performed in some 25 cities around the world, including Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Zagreb (Croatia), Helsinki (Finland), Oslo (Norway) and New York (US).

In 1994, DeJong permanently installed a series of "talking benches" called Duets for Animals and People (1994) at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. And in 1995, she began her long-term collaboration with Oursler and Stephen Vitiello on the project Fantastic Prayers (1995-1998) (2), a series of performances and installations, a Web site, and a CD-ROM, all commissioned by the Dia Center for the Arts in New York. DeJong is now working on a new media performance project called A.D., along with Steven Gomez Dean and Thread Waxing Space in New York.

Angela Plohman © 2000 FDL

(1) Constance DeJong, Blasted Allegories (New York: New Museum/MIT Press, 1987); Constance DeJong, Wild History (Tanam Press, 1985); Constance DeJong, Top Top Stories (City Lights, 1991).

(2) Constance DeJong, Tony Oursler, Stephen Vitiello, Fantastic Prayers [CD-ROM] (New York: Dia Center for the Arts, 1999).