Constance DeJong

Constance DeJong is an award-winning author who has made performance a natural extension of her writing. Since 1977 she has toured extensively in the U.S., Canada, and Europe presenting oral adaptations of her published texts, including Modern Love, The Lucy Amarillo Stories, I.T.I.L.O.E., & Twice Told Tale. Her fiction is also anthologized in Blasted Allegories (New Museum/MIT Press 1987), Wild History (Tanam Press 1985) and Top Top Stories (City Lights 1991).

DeJong wrote the libretto for the Philip Glass opera Satyagraha: M.K. Gandhi in South Africa, 1981. (Book published by Tanam Press, 1981.) In 1988 she produced several video collaborations, including In Shadow City (1988 with Ken Feingold) and Joyride TM (1988 Tony Oursler).

Joyride TM was included in the 1989 Whitney Biennial, as was Relatives, a performance collaboration by DeJong and Oursler that combines spoken text and prerecorded video. Since its November 1989 premier DeJong has performed Relatives in over 27 cities including Boston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Nyack, Amsterdam, Zagreb, Helsinki, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Stockholm, & Oslo.

April 1994 was the dedication of a permanent audio text work installed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle: Duets for Animals and People, a commission of the Seattle Arts Commission. The installation is comprised of a set of "talking benches" which play 30 pre-recorded texts when a visitor sits down and initiates the sound system through interrupting an electronic sensor.

Awards include a 1980 NEA Literature Fellowship, 1986 NEA New Genres Fellowship and a NYFA New Genres grant, 1990.

In December 1983 and January 1994 DeJong was in residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston) to write a site-specific performance for the museum's series, Eye of the Beholder, and to work on a new novel based on a character's relation with inanimate objects.

DeJong's work with spoken texts is documented in a 1985 feature film on the oral tradition by Canadian filmmaker, Kay Armitage, and she is a featured performer in Steve Fagin's 1990 video feature, The Machine That Killed Bad People.

Fantastic Prayers