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The Laurence Rassel Show
Deluxe Edition Double CD Set of the Post-Feminist Radio Drama Assassinated Before Broadcast
- Yasmin Nair

In Make/Shift: Feminisms in Motion (US), Spring/Summer 2008, Issue 3.


A sociopolitical archive that highlights and relentlessly challenges its own conditions of production, The Laurence Rassel Show is a two-CD collection, most of it available for free download. A collaborative effort between the Brussels-based cyberfeminist Laurence Rassel and trans activist and musician Terrre Thaemlitz, LRS is a meditation on, among other topics, gender and authorship; the literal and metaphorical murder of female writers; copyright laws; and the sharing and reclamation of public common ground. It consists of "readings" by authors like Michel Foucault (on the death of the author) and Joan Smith (on the link between the ownership of land and of women), as well as an intense conversation between Thaemlitz and Rassel about the making of the production. All of this is linked by excerpts from Murder, She Wrote, featuring the distinctive voice of Angela Lansbury as the female sleuth Jessica Fletcher.

This is a brilliant, beautiful, and extraordinarily textured ambient show and aural drama whose effects are different with each listening. Yet, the overall aesthetics don't distract from the very precise historical points made. Over the course of a little over two hours, we're led, in a nonlinear fashion, through the development of a labyrinthine network of laws made for the "common good" that have integrated, since at least the eighteenth century, to produce an increasingly globalized and direct link between the growth of capitalism and the production of bodies as purveyors of privatization. A discussion between Thaemlitz and Rassel sheds light on why the radio show was supposedly cancelled. But this is a highly sophisticated piece, and truth itself is always in doubt. It really doesn't matter whether the show was cancelled, or even if this is a show. Listening to it, I'm reminded of the importance of transience and the power of insurgent and sometimes fictive acts like those of CHAos, acts that appear under cover or in the quiet of night; make their point; and disappear. Disappearance is part of the point.