Rock legend David Bowie passed away earlier this week, just two days after releasing his latest album. His Lazarus music video has been viewed over eleven million times, helping to set a record-breaking day of views for music videos available on Vevo.

"David Bowie" wanted to stage his death "through his last album and the musical Lazarus, said in an interview with the World the Belgian director Ivo van Hove, who worked with him on this show."

Source: Press

The following activities will allow you to get to know artist David Bowie better while providing a reflection on cancer and death.


Goals

At the end of the activities, the student will be able to:

- Discover the musical and cinematographic careers of David Bowie;
- Understand the feat that the artist accomplished by hiding his illness until his death;
- Analyze Bowie's last music video and one of his songs;
- Think about technologies that would make it possible to repel death;
- Be aware of the cause of cancer.


Suggested activities

ACTIVITY 1: Death of a legend

First, ask students what they know about artist David Bowie. What do they know about his death? Do they know any songs? Are they aware that he was also an actor?

To learn more about this artist, invite students to find information to add to the diagram below:

Download the source file in Inspiration (.isf) format
Download the file in PDF format (.pdf)

Finally, mention that the death of this famous singer is somewhat of an achievement, since in 2016 with social media, David Bowie managed to hide his illness for 18 months to surprise everyone with his death. It would even seem that he staged his departure since he chose to launch his last album only two days before dying. By listening to this album now, it is possible to understand Bowie's moods in the face of his own death.

ACTIVITY 2: Reflecting on Death

Bowie's latest music video is called Lazarus. As a whole class, watch it on Youtube and analyze the visuals. Find out what this title refers to.
Invite students to read this post from the Techno blog of Radio-Canada Triplex.

Then, as a whole class, discuss the possibilities suggested in the text to repel death. According to the students, is this realistic? And in 20 years, what will it be?

How will postponing death technologies cause inequality?
Finally, ask the students what they think of this idea of fending off death. Would they like to be immortal? Why?

ACTIVITY 3: Analysis of the work

Before starting the activity, ask students if they can name famous David Bowie songs.

Take a few minutes to watch one or more music videos. You will find some on Youtube.

Then, individually or as a team, have students choose a Bowie song, listen to it, and finally analyze it.


For further

Cancer has just taken away two other well-known personalities, Alan Rickman and René Angélil. As a whole class, organize a campaign to educate students in the school about the devastation caused by cancer. For example, as a team, students could find statistics about this disease and create awareness posters.


More about the magazine

Rock legend David Bowie dies
Radio-Canada, January 11, 2016

David Bowie dies of cancer
La Presse, January 11, 2016

David Bowie: visionary until his death
The press, January 12, 2016

David Bowie, an "extraterrestrial" in the cinema
La Presse, January 11, 2016

David Bowie
Wikipedia article

Fight against cancer: will Obama's wish come true?
La Presse, January 14, 2116

Véronique is a librarian at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières and a trainer in educational technology for future teachers. She also holds a teaching certificate in the social universe at the secondary level and collaborates regularly with the organization L'École branchée.

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