chapter  2
In this Age of Grand Allusion: Bowie, Nihilism and Meaning
ByRICHARD FITCH
Pages 16

This chapter focuses on the way David Bowie's creation expresses anxiety surrounding art at the end of the millennium, which at once aligns his work with that of Jean Baudrillard's transaesthetics, a concept that addresses the issue of art being incorporated into everything in the postmodern society, making it no longer a singular, transcendent phenomenon. 'The Hearts Filthy Lesson' contains the instrumentation and sonic layers found throughout the album and can be read as a microcosm of the album as a whole. Bowie creates a cut-up sound space constructed from disparate traditions, and inserts the piano into it as one truly organic, unmediated element. The piano is the tool used to resurrect walls, boundaries, differences that Baudrillard expressed had disappeared and erased art and aesthetics all together. It is a 'Grand Piano', a symbolically intact acoustic instrument, delineating several eras and cordoning off the fractured state of the other merged electronic sounds.