Already in the 1980s, Donna Haraway described the “collapse of the clean separation between organism and machine” as an invitation to “find methods for the analysis and production of technologies that lead to the life we all want, without domination by race, sex and class”. This is where a central moment in the art of Planningtorock begins: Pitching, the electronic alienation of the voice – not only as alienating and changing pitches, but as a possibility to blur social boundaries between deep/masculine and high/feminine. With an androgynous appearance and this electronically alienated voice, Jam Rostron aka Planningtorock, born in Great Britain and living in Berlin, became an icon of queer pop music. With the current album “Powerhouse” Jam has made an impressive intimate and autobiographical statement for the power of music in the age of digital transformation processes, which is shown in HELLERAU as a performance show.
It all started with the idea of making a film about the search for gender identity, about Jam’s mother, who was diagnosed with cancer at an early age, and her sister, who has Asperger’s syndrome. “I wanted to give a powerful and personal insight into my world – a world that has been ignored for too long. Over time, I realized that this would not be the right way to (re)present my relatives, precisely because of their constitutions. Instead, I felt that it was enough to spend time with them, to listen to them, to follow them. I share these moments with my mother and sister in ‘Powerhouse’ as raw, honest presences that speak for themselves. […] The most magical thing I have experienced in this process is the realization that music has always been the strongest connection between me and my family. I am very grateful for that and for the time we spent together.”
There are many painful moments and themes that are thematized in “Powerhouse”. And yet, especially in their technical communication, they are of strange beauty and warmth – because we are allowed to be part of a family. “In the morning my mother used to listen to music loudly. She had three jobs back then. She charged her batteries with the music for the upcoming day. Music changed my life, writing songs saved me. Writing the song ‘Powerhouse’ was hard. The relationship with my parents is always a complicated subject. But I wanted to do this song in honour of my mother and share it with the world.”