• 00:01 Latex, balloons and AIDS
  • 10:48 A well-tuned piano in Mississippi
  • 19:15 Free improv, East Village
  • 23:58 Fluxus and Tone
  • 28:06 Working day jobs
  • 29:21 A balloon trio with Diane Torr
  • 32:37 At home with balloons
  • 35:29 Less is less: working with Alvin Lucier
  • 39:08 Christa Erickson at Stony Brook
  • 44:08 Hommage à Kenneth Noland
  • 47:05 A lack of inhibition
  • 48:51 The score of touch
  • 50:53 Held taut, melted and spread out into an orb
  • 52:37 Sexuality, sensuality, Sprinkle
  • 54:07 Discrimination and drag kings
  • 57:15 You need to make some new friends, dude.
29/01/2018 62' 8''

Judy Dunaway began using balloons as a preparation on her guitar in the late 80s. The philosophies of John Cage, Fluxus and other avant-garde movements inspired her to produce conceptual sound art and sonic performances using her own body and balloons to make sounds.

The toy balloon – an instrument to celebrate the end of “high art” – had previously been used by optimistic pioneers such as Charlotte Moorman, Eugene Cardbourne, Mauricio Kagel and Anthony Braxton. But as Judy Dunaway explains, the AIDS crisis affecting New York in the late 80s and early 90s gave new significance to the use of latex. Dunaway coupled herself to a musical instrument that, through touch, conveyed sensuality and at the same time allowed her to confront the power structures behind sexual repression.

As well as performing as a balloon player in compositions by John Zorn and Roscoe Mitchell, and collaborating with Annie Sprinkle, Diane Torr, Yasunao Tone and numerous others, Dunaway has also created her own works, often to do with social activism or cultural critique, in the field of telematics and transmission art, sound installation and interactive technology.

SON[I]A talks to Judy Dunaway about tenor balloons, improvisation, greyhound buses, Western music, the AIDS crisis, studying with Alvin Lucier, working day-jobs and learning to play a well-tuned piano.

Son[i]aJudy DunawayAlvin Lucier#8Mfemale producers

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