On March 25, 1969, Judy Garland took to the stage at the Falkoner Centre in Copenhagen to deliver what would become her final performance, culminating in an impassioned, staccato Over the Rainbow that was a million miles away from the Wizard of Oz recording that had made her a star. Now, 47 years later, Glasgow-based artist FK Alexander is recreating that performance, over and over again, setting it in a kind of aspic made of pure white noise and feedback, that’s as powerful a show about labour, celebrity and performance-as-artefact this side of the Emerald City.
It takes place in a tiny room, which feels smaller thanks to the dense wall of distorted, analogue sound generated by noise band Okishima Island Tourist Association, standing like a true industrial legend, stationary and leather-clad, at the back of the stage.
One by one, the audience filters to Alexander, who each time dresses meticulously in sequins and ruby slippers, each time takes their hand, each time delivers the same emanation of that doomed Garland track.
It’s like one of William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops that refuses to disintegrate. A museum piece, or a memory, taking one last, defiant bow.