Rock My Religion

The almost one-hour-long video essay Rock My Religion proffers a provocative theory on the relationship between religion and rock music in contemporary culture. As its point of departure it takes the puritan Shaker communities, a sect from England that established itself in the United States beginning in 1774. Its members practiced self-denial and ecstatic trance dancing. To the music of Sonic Youth and Glenn Branca, Rock My Religion recounts how the Shakers achieved a state of trance by rhythmically reciting passages from the Bible. This shaking forms the historical background for Dan Graham’s interpretation of rock music as the religion of the youth culture that had its roots in the suburbs of the post-war era and appeared in various manifestations up into the 1970s. Live recordings of concerts demonstrate the messianic qualities of musicians such as Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan and Patti Smith, whose first album begins, not by coincidence, with the sentence: Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.


  • original Title: Rock My Religion
  • Date: 1982 – 1984
  • Genre: Video

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