Legendary art rockers The Residents, in collaboration with celebrated video artist John Sanborn, will perform their epic 1988 album, God In 3 Persons, at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City on January 24 and 25, 2020. The performances will include eleven performers, featuring a live seven-piece music ensemble. Audiences will witness the terrifying gospel of Mr. X and The Holy Twins, brought to life by legendary SF-based art rockers.
The story of God In 3 Persons will be told using lurid multi-layered video projections created by Sanborn while The Residents provide live accompaniment with vocalist Laurie Amat.
God In 3 Persons will be directed for performance by Travis Chamberlain with musical direction by Joshua Raoul Brody and puppetry and background design by Leigh Barbier. Steve Saporito produces.
In this propulsive and brooding rock oratorio, The Residents’ anonymous lead singer, performing as Mr. X, preaches of his encounters with a pair of ambiguously gendered conjoined twins (portrayed on video by noted genderqueer porn star Jiz Lee). Their physical union has magical healing powers…or so he claims! A confession of faith-mongering complicated by a crisis of desire, God in 3 Persons functions as a darkly twisted cautionary tale about the risk of losing yourself in the process of refusing to accept others in their entirety.
God in 3 Persons is sung in rhythmic spoken word fashion, similar to the talking blues, and driven by a bombastic and dynamic score derived entirely from the first few bars of the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy,” along with the melodic hook from the Swinging Medallions 1966 hit “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love.” Despite being one of their most critically successful albums and a fan favorite, God in 3 Persons has never toured as a concert or live performance.
Performances are January 24 and January 25m with tickets $12 for the general public and free for museum members. Tickets will go on sale at MoMA’s website on January 10 at 9:30 am (for the Jan. 24 show) and January 11 at 9:30 am (for the Jan. 25 shows).
Since their first official release, Santa Dog, in 1972, The Residents have released over sixty albums, numerous music videos and short films, three CD-ROM projects, and ten DVDs. They have undertaken ten major tours and scored multiple films and are considered pioneers in exploring the potential of CD-ROM and similar technologies, having won several awards for their multimedia projects.
Ralph Records, a record label focusing on avant-garde music, was started by the band. Throughout the group’s existence, the individual members have ostensibly attempted to operate under anonymity, preferring instead to have attention focused on their art output. In public, the group appears silent and costumed, often wearing eyeball helmets, top hats and tails — a long-lasting costume now recognized as its signature iconography.
In addition to their groundbreaking work in the areas of trance, world fusion, electronica, punk, industrial and lounge music, the group has also been credited with being among the originators of performance art and music video. Two of their videos are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and their Freak Show CD- ROM has recently been featured in MoMA’s “Looking at Music 3.0” exhibition. The Theory of Obscurity, a documentary about The Residents, premiered at SXSW in 2015.