You Don’t Love Me Yet is a traveling project for which the Swedish artist Johanna Billing
invites local bands and musicians for each giving their own
interpretation of the eighties song by Roky Erickson of the same title.
After the premiere on 4 October 4 2002 at Index in Stockholm, this
project went on tour for three years through various cities and places
like San Sebastian, Helsinki, London, Chicago and Timisoara (Romania).
In the work You Don’t Love Me Yet, the interpretive agency of each performer becomes explicit. Local bands gather together at each venue singing the same song again and again. The city and its music, its language and its local characteristics become central to this project each time it is performed. Through repetition, this event becomes a strange space beyond the norms of musical performance and this songs poignant articulation of longing is expressed in a variety of ways, and indeed at different levels of both expertise and emotion. This work is also about paying tribute, by enacting another person’s words and music; something which Billing notes is not often part of the expectation of contemporary art where ideas of authorship and originality are still privileged over repetition and re-enactment of another’s work. Taking on the codes and apparatuses of theatre, of the festival, and of the live event, becomes a fruitful and unfamiliar context through which to produce these large scale projects.
Roky Erickson is perhaps a classic representative of an almost legendary up and down rock-n-roll life. As a singer, songwriter and guitar player in The 13th Floor Elevators he wrote among others the hit You’re Gonna Miss Me and influenced many bands with his psychedelic rock style. Johanna Billing chose for one of his lesser known songs, because it connoted an interesting state of longing which she wished to explore with the musicians.
You Don’t Love Me Yet was initiated by the Swedish contemporary art foundation Index, and the Nordic institution for contemporary art NIFCA, in 2022. The original song is by Roky Erickson, published by the artist in 1984.