Tony Oursler at Artforum:
WHICH ONE OF HIS CHARACTERS do you like best? It’s hard to say. Ziggy is too easy—perhaps the Man Who Sold the World or the Thin White Duke? All of them are, of course, associated with specific lyrics and music, their own time and place: Berlin, London, LA, Bali (where he requested that his ashes be scattered). Taken as a group—now, sadly, a fixed set—these guises established the rhythm of David Bowie’s career, and his fans can remember where they were in their lives when each one emerged. We can all remember, too, when we were first entranced by his strange voice and the unlikely combination of sounds and words that somehow coalesced into a song. Bowie’s work became personal for me in the early 1970s, when my older sister Theresa introduced it to me. I instantly became a fan. This was years before she had her first straight family, or her second gay family. We were kids, and she had a small turntable; it was my first experience with stereo headphones. In retrospect, cycling through Bowie’s albums—Hunky Dory (1971), The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972), The Man Who Sold the World (1970)—through the hermetic split of left and right channels was a fitting starting point.
My first actual contact with David was like a shock of energy, fully charged with the magic of media, music, and glamour. It was as if he had somehow bilocated between our world and one of myth and didn’t fully exist in the same space as ordinary earthlings. Of course, this was all in my mind, and my reaction said much about the delusions of popular culture. Somehow this giant I’d been listening to and watching with such admiration since forever was in my studio in person. It was hard to reconcile fantasy with flesh. Later, I would notice that this was a common effect of David’s presence, sometimes with hilarious results.