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/ubu editions

The Art of Performance A Critical Anthology 1984 Edited By: Gregory Battcock and Robert Nickas /ubueditions This UbuWeb Edition edited by Lucia della Paolera 2010


The original edition was published by E.P. DUTTON, INC. NEW YORK For G. B. Copyright @ 1984 by the Estate of Gregory Battcock and Robert Nickas All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper or broadcast. Published in the United States by E. P. Dutton, Inc., 2 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10016 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 79-53323 ISBN: 0-525-48039-0 Published simultaneously in Canada by Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited, Toronto 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 First Edition Vito Acconci: "Notebook: On Activity and Performance." Reprinted from Art and Artists 6, no. 2 (May l97l), pp. 68-69, by permission of Art and Artists and the author. Russell Baker: "Observer: Seated One Day At the Cello." Reprinted from The New York Times, May 14, 1967, p. lOE, by permission of The New York Times. Copyright @ 1967 by The New York Times Company. David Bourdon: "An Eccentric Body of Art." Reprinted from Saturday Review of the Arts 1, no. 2 (February 3, 1973), pp. 30-32, by permission of Saturday Review of the Arts and the author. Cee S. Brown: "Performance Art: A New Form of Theatre, Not a New Concept in Art." Copyright @ 1983 by Cee S. Brown. Printed by permission of the author. Chris Burden and Jan Butterfield: “Through the Night Softly." Reprinted from Arts 49, no. 7 (March 1975), pp. 68-72, by permission of Arts and the authors. For their help in the preparation of this anthology, I wish to thank David Shapiro, Barbara Goldner, and Cyril Nelson. I am also grateful to the Sonnabend Gallery, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc., the Byrd Hoffman Foundation, and Holly Solomon Gallery for kindly providing access to their photographic files.


CONTENTS Introduction Part 1: Historical Introduction Attanasio Di Felice: Renaissance Performance: Notes on Prototypical Artistic Actions in the Age of the Platonic Princes RoseLee Goldberg: Performance: A Hidden History Annabelle Henkin Melzer: The Dada Actor and Performance Theory Ken Friedman: Fluxus Performance RoseLee Goldberg: Performance: The Golden Years Part 2: Theory and Criticism Michael Kirby: On Acting and Not-Acting Cee S. Brown: Performance Art: A New Form of Theatre, Not a New Concept in Art François Pluchart: Risk as the Practice of Thought Peter Gorsen: The Return of Existentialism in Performance Art Wayne Enstice: Performance Art’s Coming of Age David Shapiro: Poetry and Action: Performance in a Dark Time Herbert Molderings: Life Is No Performance: Performance by Jochen Gerz Part 3: The Artists David Bourdon: An Eccentric Body of Art Vito Acconci: Notebook: On Activity and Performance Robin White: An Interview with Terry Fox Chris Burden and Jan Butterfield: Through the Night Softly Les Levine: Artistic Rob La Frenais: An Interview with Laurie Anderson David Shapiro: Notes on Einstein on the Beach From Jail to Jungle: The Work of Charlotte Moorman and Nam June Paik 4

INTRODUCTION Our body is not in space like things; it inhabits or haunts space. It applies itself to space like a hand to an instrument; and when we wish to move about we do not move the body as we move an object. We transport it without instruments as if by magic, since it is ours and because through it we have direct access to space. For us the body is much more than an instrument or a means; it is our expression in the world, the visible form of our intentions. Even our most secret affective movements, those most deeply tied to the humoral infrastructure, help to shape our perception of things. —MAURICE MERLEAU-PONTY¹ [Performance] really is an attempt at synthesizing communication. It's an attempt at a new communication. But the only people this art exists for are the people who are there. And it's the only time the art exists. —TERRY FOX² I dream of the day when I shall create sculptures that breathe, perspire, cough, laugh, yawn, smirk, wink, pant, dance, walk, crawl… and move among people as shadows move along people. —DAVID MEDALLA³ Before man was aware of art he was aware of himself. Awareness of the person is, then, the first art. In performance art the figure of the artist is the tool for the art. It is the art. —GREGORY BATTCOCK4 The final epigraph comes from The Art of Performance, the catalogue to an exhibition of performances held in Venice in the summer of 1979, from which the title of this book was chosen. The exhibition was only one of many international festivals and symposia presented between 1977 and 1980 in New York, Montreal, and primarily, in Europe. In addition to providing an official acknowledgment of the form, these events clearly identified performance as the art form most characteristic of the 1970s. What was most startling about these events and what set them apart from most traditional exhibitions up to that time, as the Battcock quote suggests, was their emphasis on the selection of artists over, or rather than, artworks. This was certainly the rule rather than the exception. In many cases the organizers of these events saw the artworks at the same time as the public, not in advance of them. So, in presenting artists whose work was live, in real time, they were taking a risk (along with the artists), one to which they were historically unaccustomed. Yet, take it they did, as the substantial number of festivals staged during the late 1970s, as well as the staggering amount of performances presented at them, would indicate. And although these events generated an equally substantial amount of theories, questions, and lively dialogue, the term performance, in use since the early years of the decade, was always loosely defined. It remains so; then, as now, encompassing a broad area of activity by a wide variety of artists with diverse styles, methods, and concerns. This lack of a strict definition, however, was not necessarily bad. For a number of reasons it proved advantageous to the artists and to the development of the form. performance was suited to experimentation in ways that traditional forms such as painting and sculpture, with their restrictions and physical limitations, were not, neither could they expect to be. Undefined, there were no rules to break. Artists were able to employ the widest range of subject matter, using virtually any medium or material; they could present their work at any time, for any duration of time, at the location of their choosing, in direct contact with their audience. Artists who came to performance were able to investigate their relationship with their audience, from whom they had previously been far removed. It can be said that prior to performance, art's audience saw the work 5

of artists, the art product, with greater regularity than it saw the artist or the production of art. With performance it was simultaneously witness to both. As such, artists had new access to the reception of their work—no longer relying solely on critics and dealers, with their own interests at stake—and they achieved a degree of control over the presentation and destination of their work. In addition, performance artists were liberated from the art object and all it entailed. This liberation offered the possibility of moving toward an art in which the idea would dominate. Performance, like Conceptual art, would enable the artist to shun mere pictorial values in favor of true visual communication: art as a vehicle for ideas and action. All of this meant that art no longer had to conform to established formats, and it would never be quite the same again. Undefined, performance was independent of current trends and traditional forms, and this independence guaranteed, for a time, that performance art would remain controlled and guided by the artists who originated the form. So, the lack of a strict definition was indeed an advantage, for without clear and determined boundaries, performance was an open territory from its very beginnings. In the early 1970s, then, this was what attracted artists to performance. As Michel Benamou has written, "One might ask what causes this pervading need to act out art which used to suffice itself on the page or the museum wall? What is this new presence, and how has it replaced the presence which poems and pictures silently proffered before? Has everything from politics to poetics become theatrical?"5 For performance artists such as Vito Acconci and Stuart Brisley, it would seem that at some point the art was no longer wholly sufficient on the page or the museum wall. Brisley, one of the pioneers of performance in England, had produced objects up to 1966, by which time he had "reached a crisis point. I couldn't go on working with material," he claimed, "it had arrived at its own conclusion and I had to go a stage further." That stage further was to be a turning point for Brisley, whose new material became process, a "material" he could use "without actually making an object, and that was a great release."6 Before coming to performance, to "streetworks" such as Following Piece (1969) and to "performance situations" such as Claim (1971), for which he was to become well known, Vito Acconci was a poet. In discussing his work with language, he described the page "as a field for action" and his use of the page "as a model space, a performance area in miniature or abstract form." Acconci's progression from "movement over a page" to his own movement in space should not be seen as evidencing a replacement of the presence of language by performance but as its extension. In fact, Acconci has suggested as much: "The page… doesn't compete with elements outside but is used, instead, alongside them. Use [the] page as the start of an event that keeps going, off the page; use the page to fix the boundaries of an event, or a series of events, that take place in outside space."7 Thus, performance can be seen not only as a new presence that has "replaced the presence which poems and pictures silently proffered before" but as an extension of their possibilities, perhaps without any substitution or replacement. Something that is replaced is not always superseded, but can be said to have been restored. As the body artist Gina Pane has stated, "Our entire culture is based on the representation of the body. Performance doesn't so much annul painting as help out the birth of a new painting based on different explanations and functions of the body in art."8 Consider the following recollection of Jannis Kounellis, "In 1960 I did a continuous performance, first in my studio and then at the Galeria Tartaruga in Roma, in which I stretched unsized canvases… over all the walls in the room, and painted letters over them which I sang. The problem in those days was to establish a new kind of painting…”9 For Kounellis, who once remarked, "One needs to consider that the gallery is a dramatic, theatrical cavity,"10 performance did not replace the presence of pictures but restored painting. This is a situation not unlike that identified by Roselee Goldberg in her essay 6

"Performance: A Hidden History" in which artists "attempted to resolve problematic issues in performance." Still, why this "pervading need to act out art?" part of the answer may be found with artists who had neither "reached a crisis point" nor sought to explore "outside space" nor to resolve their problems in performance. Artists like Mary Beth Edelson, who, oddly enough, "never really intended to do performance, but," she explained, "with certain exhibitions I felt an imperative to act out what I was trying to say—mostly for clarity and to intensify the statement."11 This intensification of the statement is, perhaps, one of the primary reasons artists were and still are drawn to performance. Performance enabled artists to articulate their ideas in action, to set them in motion. Although some of the ideas were not always adequately articulated or, for that matter, worthy of communication, authentically new approaches to art as a form of visual communication were to be explored. We are reminded of MerleauPonty's idea of the body as "the visible form of our intentions," of Fox's belief in "a new communication," of a claim made by Lucy R. Lippard for performance as "the most immediate art form, which aspires to the immediacy of political action itself. Ideally," she continued, "performance means getting down to the bare bones of aesthetic communication-artist/self confrontins audience/society."l2 Historically, this ideal would be found in Russia in the 1920s with the "living newspaper" groups that performed in colleges and clubs, in factories and in the streets, presenting a "collage of facts," a montage of political events and headlines "chosen by preference from the facts of everyday life."l3 In more recent times we find artists such as Jon Hendricks and Jean Toche who, with performances such as Guerrilla Art Action in Front of The Metropolitan Museum in New York (1969), protested publicly against the manipulation of art and artists by cultural institutions and big business.14 Parallels to activities of this nature would include performances such as Terry Fox's Defoliation Joseph Beuys's political lectures and dialogues, and performances such as The Boxing Match for Direct Democracy (1972), as well as a large body of feminist work. Leslie Labowitz and Suzanne Lacy, for example, presented In Mourning and in Rage (1977), a performance-protest "against the Hillside Strangler murders—a group of women [who] had been raped and murdered… in the Los Angeles Hillside area—and against the sensational and irresponsible media coverage of the slayings."I5 The performance was not presented in an art gallery, where it would certainly have been ineffective, but on the steps of City Hall in Los Angeles, in the presence of city officials, the public, and the media, at whom it was aimed. Here, then, is performance that attains the ideal of "aesthetic communication," of artists confronting society in a clear, relevant way. In his essay "Life Is No Performance" Herbert Molderings states that "in traditional art, market and exhibition mechanisms had separated the artist from the people; performance art aimed at bringing them back together." Might we assume, then, that performance never truly replaced the presence of poems and pictures on the page or museum wall, but reintroduced the presence of the artist alongside them? In doing so, has performance also succeeded in expanding the presence of the object and the word, broadened their scope, and our awareness of their potential? We think so. How else but to view work such as, specifically, Bruce Nauman's Performance Corridor (1969), Chris Burden's B-Car (1977) or The Big Wheel (1980), Vito Acconci's Instant House (1980) or The Peoplemobile (1979); and work, in general, such as Scott Burton's furniture; the machines of Alice Aycock and Dennis Oppenheim; installations by Jonathan Borofsky, Ben D'Armagnac, Mike Parr, and the "tableaux vivants" of Luigi Ontani; the action objects of Franz Erhard Walther and Joseph Beuys, and the "instruments" of Helmut Schober; the photoworks of Lucas Samaras, Katherina Sieverding-Klaus Mettig, General Idea, Arnulf Rainer; films by Rebecca Horn and Yvonne Rainer; the sound works of Terry Fox and Connie Beckley; the sculpture of Richard Long and Klaus Rinke; video work by Marc Chaimowicz, Joan Jonas, and Dan Graham; books by Gilbert and George and Ida Applebroog; even some of the essays in this anthology. For example, whole sections of the interview with Laurie Anderson, Vito Acconci's 7

notes, and parts of Les Levine's essay "Artistic" are in some way performable, or lend themselves to performance. Here, in answer to David Shapiro in his essay "Poetry and Action: Performance in a Dark Time" is writing to some degree reconciled with action. And what of the "return" of figurative painting in recent years, by both artists once (or still) involved with performance and those who never were? Does it owe any debt to the performance art of the 1970s? According to Helena Kontova, "painting has been transformed by absorbing elements of performance, installation art, and photography. Avant-garde art in the sixties and seventies was characterized by the use of extra-artistic objects (including the human body), accentuating their materiality and objectification, and was also characterized as pure representation (which, in some cases, could be termed a new form of show). Consequently, painting in general, and the paintings of ex-performers in particular, tend to assume some of these characteristics."16 We are reminded of Gina Pane's view of performance aiding "the birth of a new painting," of Kounellis's "problems… to establish a new kind of painting," and of Stuart Brisley's reply, when asked what his main source of ideas for performances was: "The sense of the figure in space, movement, the sense of oneself, the human."l7 This leads us back to Gregory Battcock's observation that "Before man was aware of art he was aware of himself." How, might we ask, did the presence of the artist come to be reintroduced? Brian O'Doherty has written that "It was with Abstract Expressionism that critics first began consistently describing artists as 'performers' …and grading them according to 'performance.'18 With the emphasis on 'gesture' and 'action' one began to get a double image of what was hailed as the single ultimate image in art: the picture, and behind it, the artist, like some gesticulating ghostly presence.”19 Jack Burnham also recognized this situation when he wrote that "The erosion in the plastic arts toward theater was in progress early in the beginning of this century, though never so evident as when critics began to describe in detail the activities of Pollock and de Kooning in front of or over a canvas." And, he concluded, "For a century the artist has chosen to be not only his best subject matter, but in many cases his only legitimate subject."20 Thus, the decline of the "single ultimate image in art," combined with the artist as a "legitimate subject," laid the groundwork for the reintroduction of the presence of the artist, a presence which is with us to this day. In "An Interview with Laurie Anderson" conjures up an image of Barnett Newman "painting a blue painting… talking about the meaning of this blue paint. He's standing by his blue painting, looking at it, and talking about it." And this, she believes, is "the generation ahead of what's called live art, which is people really standing next to blue in real time saying, ‘Blue Is… ' " Roland Barthes has spoken of "writing aloud"; might we speak, with the concept of the artist's presence in mind, of "painting aloud" or "sculpting aloud" or "writing aloud" within the framework of performance? The concept of "painting aloud" can best be seen in Yves Klein's Anthropometries of the Blue Age21 and in Jim Dine's The Smiling Workman,22 both, as it happens, in 1960, Klein in Paris, and Dine in New York. "Sculpting aloud" is evidenced in Joseph Beuys's The Chief (1964)23 and in "living sculptures" such as Underneath the Arches (1969) by Gilbert and George, of which two more dissimilar works might not possibly befound, but which are here related. And of Barthes's "writing aloud" we find, for example, John Cage's performance Writing Through Finnegan's Wake (1976), derived from Joyce's novel. Clearly, the presence of the artist has expanded "the presence which poems and pictures silently proffered before," and our awareness of their potential. But the presence of the artist did not appear, was not "reintroduced," as if by magic or without reason. Several contributors to this book offer theories about how this occurred. Herbert Molderings, for example, suggests that "It is certainly not accidental that Happenings and action art, the forerunners of the performance movement, started around 1960 when television began to play a 8

major role in everyday life." Claiming that "the origin of abstract painting around 1910 reflected the disruption… caused by the emergence of the movies," he concludes, "Similarly performance art and video experiments are a response to an even deeper disruption caused by television today." This would seem to correspond to Michel Benamou's pronouncement about television (with performance art in mind): "Our society is dramatized by TV and at the same time deprived of real drama."24 Elsewhere in this book, Roselee Goldberg offers the idea that "whenever a certain school, be it Cubism, Minimalism, or Conceptual art, seemed to have gained a stranglehold on art production and criticism, artists turned to performance as a way of breaking down categories and indicating new directions." Wayne Enstice in his essay "Performance Art's Coming of Age" cites formalist developments within the art of the 1960s as significant factors in the emergence of performance art in the 1970s. "The vacuity of Minimalist sculpture," according to Enstice, "provoked the viewer to locate the art experience." There were two results. "First, Minimalism changed the customary subject— object roles for the viewer of an artwork. Second, the anxiousness of Minimalism urged the viewer to scrutinize the artist with unusual intensity in an attempt to historicize his intent and process." Thus, "the unsettling blankness of Minimalism dislodged the artist more completely from behind the craft of making art, to stress his executive presence." And he goes on to cite the "inevitable dissolution" of the art object achieved by Conceptual art as enabling "the artist and his ambition [to] become the cynosure of artistic energy." "By taking up performance," wrote Walter Robinson, "an artist was refusing to join an elite art profession that purveys esoteric luxury items to select clients." But, he continued, "For many of the performers this attitude turned out to be a matter of professional strategy: with options in painting and sculpture in the early '70's apparently closed off, performance served as a fast and effective way of carving out a personal niche in the art system."25 What all this seems to imply is that the reasons artists came to performance—and the social, cultural, and political factors that set the stage, so to speak, for performance art—are not easily explained and detailed. They are to be found, perhaps, in each individual artist and, further, in each performance. As such, performance art raised, and continues to raise, serious critical questions about the nature of art, art's audience, the role of the artist, and even of the critics themselves. Michel Benamou claims that performance is found "in areas of culture which one seldom associates with it… criticism itself no longer content to gesticulate in the margins of texts also takes hold of a part of the stage, and plays."26 A recent example that tends to support this viewpoint occurred during the symposium "Theoretical Analysis of the Intermedia Art Form," held at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1980. A large panel of notable scholars and critics had been assembled, and a crowd filled the auditorium. They were, as befits such an event, well behaved and dozing just a bit. Until critics such as David Antin, Gregory Battcock, and, particularly, Abraham Moles set them in motion, and their laughter and animation soon dispelled the sobriety of the proceedings. The critics' statements were received as performances because, to the mind of the audience, they were indeed "performed." Moles's "statement," with an uncooperative blackboard as his prop, resembled something far closer to a scene from a Jacques Tati comedy than a lecture by a university professor. And Battcock, who spoke about art in relation to the rapid transportation and communication systems of our time, spoke so rapidly that his words became a nearly unintelligible blur, serving to illustrate his point to great effect. The audience rather than listening passively to what was being said actively experienced the ideas firsthand. 9

Here, then, is criticism "no longer content to gesticulate in the margins of texts," and critics, as performers, to some degree reconciled with performance. But the written criticism of performance was problematic from the very beginning. John Howell, the editor of Alive, a magazine devoted to performance and other forms of "live" art, has written, "A performance has this obvious condition: when the show's over it's gone. The remaining evidence—articles and reviews, photographs, notes, and scripts—can only suggest the event. As a medium, then, performances are acutely exposed to, if not dependent on, critical conceits (individual approaches, theoretical bias) which claim to render a missing object. For certain performance artists who locate their dance, music, or theater in an art context… the critical vocabularies for dance, music, and theater are often too conservative for the scope of their performances: at the same time an art vocabulary is insufficient for dealing with the attitudes and techniques of those traditions.”27 In his essay "Performance Art: A New Form of Theatre, Not a New Concept in Art" Cee S. Brown calls for "a new vocabulary" to deal with the work of performance artists. He notes that "Much of the writing being done is merely descriptive and tends to use the vernacular of the traditional art forms of painting and sculpture, shying away from the exploratory and critical." Instead, he proposes a "species-specific language" that "could more closely approach criticism and analysis rather than description." With performance, traditional approaches to interpretation are of little or no use because the value of the art is not to be found in its aesthetic characteristics but in the action of the artist: what is said and what is done. The question of interpretation is opened up considerably in this situation. Not only to be considered is the question of what is said and done but how? why? where? and for how long? The elements of time and duration, for example, are present in performance-the use of time, as well as the use of time as subject matter-more prominently than in traditional forms ofart.28 A painting or a sculpture may last thousands of years, with the proper care, but a performance is of the moment, ephemeral to the point of self-obsolescence, it may last only seconds or minutes. Connie Beckley has written that "Music, unlike painting, is an art form in which the time of its perception is controlled almost entirely by the artist, and in which the audience is subject to the artist's judgment concerning the use of that time."29 If we were to replace the word music with the word performance, the same would be true. Consider a performance by Stuart Brisley such as 180 Hours (1978), which spanned that time period. Or one by Helmut Schober, The Devotion Piece (1978), which may last only two and a half minutes. Or Abramović/Ulay’s Gold Found by the Artists (1981), which was performed for seven hours each day, for sixteen consecutive days. And what of Teh-ching Hsieh's "one year performance: 26 Sept. '81-26 Sept. '82," during which time the artist lived on the streets of New York, in all weather, without once entering a building for shelter? How can performances such as these be interpreted by the same methods as those used for static art? Obviously, they cannot. The role of criticism must expand and change along with that of art and of the artist. Art forms such as performance encourage critical experimentation and offer responsible critics an opportunity to assess the very foundation of art criticism. Gregory Battcock wrote the following in 1979: [Performance] art is, perhaps, the first art phenomenon to clearly demonstrate that modern art has become antiquated. Modern art is based upon a single assumption. That the artwork is only what it is.It is not a picture or a metaphor for something else. It is, say, a photograph, first and only. Or, perhaps, it is a painting, first and only. This assumption 10

still looms above us all. We automatically accept it. We fall back upon it whenever we have a problem in criticizing, accepting, or understanding a work of art. Equally, we use this assumption to help us "get out of' numerous situations. A work of art that may be quite useless, quite impossible to understand, perhaps, quite meaningless in every way, can be justified if it manages to refer specifically and exclusively to its own self. The phrase that explains this attitude, in French, is "l'Art, pour l'Art." It is the cornerstone of modernism. It is the major theoretical basis for all modern art, be it painting, video, architecture, or environmental. However, it no longer works. The shifts in art that will be lasting and that will help determine the art of the future will be those that recognize the limitations, if not the absurdity of this assumption. A medium may, in fact, be interesting and useful and challenging when it tries to be something that it is not. This attitude, expressed above, is difficult for some people to understand, they have been so thoroughly trained to accept the idea that art is what it is, as the only code for making, evaluating, and understanding contemporary art. Yet the very profound level of artistic energy that is currently expended in the… performance field indicates that the major basis for modernist art is crumbling. We are indeed upon the threshold of a new art, and it is about time. The art that has been presented as new, it is becoming painfully clear, usually isn't new at all. For it continually relies upon the basic assumption that made all modern art possible in the first place, and such art is, of course, no longer new or modern. A truly new modern art will emerge when the basic theoretical foundation for the new (old) art of our time gives way.30 Would he, were he able, express these same sentiments today? Some might think so, some might not. Our reason for including them here, at this time, lies simply with the fact that they were relevant then and they are relevant now. Perhaps even more so. In any case, they deserve a wider audience than they had when they first appeared in print more than three years ago. For these reasons we find it appropriate to include them here. The performance festivals and symposia of the late 1970s did not (nor, perhaps, did they set out to) achieve what, traditionally, "retrospectives for art movements" are supposed to do: wrap up a group of artists and their work into one neat, tidy package. This "package" may be opened at a later date, its contents removed and displayed, thus facilitating art-historical preservation and instruction. It was not to prove so easy with performance art. Because these events often presented work by a number of artists-with different backgrounds, from all over the world— virtually in one place, at one time, the similarities as well as the differences between them were visibly apparent to all: to the spectators, to the critics, and to the artists (who knew all along). Moreover, the critics, on whom the task of categorization fell, were not, as a rule, in agreement on how to classify and define the form. In fact, the contributors to this anthology are not always in agreement either. This is not to say that a deliberately haphazard book has been planned. Rather, the essays we have collected here, though at times contradictory, offer a wide variety of ideas and information without making claims for a final explanation. The book has been organized into four parts, "Historical Introduction," "Theory and Criticism," "The Artists," and "A Gallery of Performances." Several of the essays in the first part deal with art and artists not strictly part of the performance art of the 1970s, the time of the origin and development of the form. Their inclusion is meant to provide a background, as it were, to the aes thetic and to the intentions unique to performance artists in the 1970s. It is hoped that they may serve to identify or reveal the antecedents and differences between the art of the past and the art of our time. 11

Gregory Battcock's association with E.P. Dutton began in 1964 when he proposed that Lionello Venturi's History of Art Criticism, which had been out of print for nearly twenty years, be made available once again. That he was instrumental in saving, for a time, a book he called "probably the first such work" of its kind, and one that remains "the boldest," is surely one of the greater achievements of his career. The Art of Performance is the end of a long, successful line for Dutton that began with Gregory Battcock's first anthology, The New Art (1966). He selected essays for it by John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Lucy R. Lippard, Ad Reinhardt, and others that illustrated "the intimate relationship between contemporary art and contemporary criticism." In the anthologies that followed, The New American Cinema (1967), Minimal Art (1968), Idea Art, New Ideas in Art Education (both 1973), and Super Realism (1975), he repeatedly emphasized the interaction of the artist and the critic and called for "a new aesthetic" to deal with the art of our times. Anthologies that summed up the goals and techniques of important movements such as Minimal art and Conceptual art were all timely, providing informative, often provocative material when it was needed most. As his friend and colleague Pierre Restany remarked, "He was in the forefront." In 1977 he brought together some of his own critical essays in a book called Why Art: Casual Notes on the Aesthetics of the Immediate Past. Two more anthologies followed, New Artists Video in 1978, and Breaking the Sound Barrier: A Critical Anthology of the New Music, published posthumously in 1981. I At the time of his death in December 1980, Dr. Battcock was at work on an anthology about performance art, for which I had done research as his assistant. Being familiar with the manuscript and with his ideas for the book, I proposed its completion to his longtime editor at Dutton, Cyril Nelson. We both agreed that the book should be published as he had planned. —ROBERT NICKAS “An Unpublished Text: Prospectus of His Work,” in The Primacy of Perception, ed. James Edie (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1964), p.5 2 “Terry Fox” (interview with Robin White), View 2, no. 3 (June 1979), p. 9. 3 Signals 1, no. 8 (June-July 1965); reprinted in the catalogue When Attitudes Become Form (Bern: Kunsthalle, 1969), unpaged. 4 “L’Art Corporel,” in the catalogue The Art of Performance (Venice: Palazzo Grassi, 1979), unpaged. 5 “Presence and Play,” in Performance in Postmodern Culture, ed. Michel Benamou and Charles Caramello (Madison, Wisc.: Coda Press, 1977), p. 3. 6 “Stuart Brisley: Excerpt from an Interview” (with Sarah Kent), Flash Art, nos. 80-81 (February-April 1978), p. 57. 7 “Notes on Performing a Space,” Avalanche, no. 6 (Fall 1972), p.4. 8 “Wound as a sign,” Flash Art, nos. 92-93 (October-November 1979), p. 37. 9 “Structure and Sensibility: An Interview with Jannis Kounellis” (with Willoughby Sharp), Avalanche, no. 5 (Summer 1972), p. 21. 10 “Jannis Jounellis” (interview with Robin White), View 1, no. 10 (March 1979), p. 17. 11 In a written statement to the editor, December 2, 1981. 12 “The Angry Month of March,” The Village Voice, March 25, 1981, p. 91. 13 N. Gourfinkel, Le Théâtre russe contemporain (Paris, 1931); reprinted in the catalogue Poetry Must Be Made by All! Transform the World (Stockholm: Moderna Museet, 1969), pp. 44-45. 14 See Guerilla Art Action Group: A Selection 1969-1976 (New York: Printed Matter Inc., 1978). 15 Moira Roth, “Toward a History of California Performance, Part Two,” Arts 52, no. 10 (June 1978), pp.118-119. 16 “Helena Kontova, “From Performance to Painting,” Flash Art, no. 106 (February-March 1982) p. 17. 17 “Stuart Brisley,” p. 58. 12

From this one should not conclude that Abstract Expressionist painting was a form of performance art. 19 “looking at the Artist as Performer,” in Object and Idea: An Art Critic’s Journal 1961-1967 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1967) p. 227. (Originally written in August 1964). 20 “Objects and Ritual: Towards a Working Ontology of Art,” Arts 47, no. 3 (December-January 1973), p. 30. 21 A performance in which paintings were made by nude models who, under the direction of the artist, applied paint to their bodies and pressed them against immense sheets of paper. Klein, it should be noted, did not himself paint these works, but employed the models as “living brushes.” See Pierre Restany, Yves Klein (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1982). 22 Dine has written of this first Happening: “I had a flat built. It was a three-panel flat… There was atable with three jars of paint and two brushes on it, and the canvas was painted white. I came around it with one light on me. I was all in red, with a big, black mouth, all my face and head were red, and I had a red smock on, down to the floor…I picked up one of the jars and drank the paint and then I pored the other two…over my head, quickly, and dove, physically, through the canvas. The light went off.” “A Statement,” in Michael Kirby, Happenings (New York: Dutton Paperbacks, 1965), p. 1985. 23 An Action for which Beuys, wrapped in a large roll of felt with a dead hare at each end, lay for eight hours on the floor of the René Block Gallery in Berlin. One of the spectators, the artist Wolf Vostell, wondered at the conclusion: “Beuys as sculpture? The whole environment as sculpture? To let oneself become an event?” He concluded by describing the evening as “philosophical theater.” 24 “Presence and Play,” p.3. 25 “Art + Life = Artists’ Performances,” Art in America (January 1981), p. 15. 26 “Presence and Play,” p.3. 27 “Performance,” Art in America 63, no. 3 (May-June 1975), p. 18. 28 An exception would be, as an example, Jean Tinguely’s Hommage à New York (1960). “When on March 17, 1960 [Tinguely’s] machine was put into action, the spectacle was one of beautiful humor, poetry, and confusion. Jean’s machine performed for ahlf an hour and exists no more” [having destroyed itself as planned], Billy Kluver, “The Garden Party,” in the catalogue The Machine (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1968) p. 169. 29 “Connie Beckley,” Data, no. 24 (December-January 1976-77) p. 41. 30 “L’Art Corporel.”



Part 1: Historical Introduction ATTANASIO Dl FELICE Renaissance Performance: Notes on Prototypical Artistic Actions in the Age of the Platonic Princes "…performance art finds its most significant prototypes in the Italian Renaissance. In other words, performance has been a key artistic activity from the very beginnings of our modern concept of the artistic role..." So begins the following essay by Attanasio di Felice who, although he acknowledges an understandable lack of documentation of Renaissance performance, ably describes spectacles, processions, pageants, and displays of fireworks by artists such as Alberti, Leonardo, and Bernini. He claims that these three "great seminal figures of the early Renaissance, High Renaissance, and Baroque, respectively,… stand out prominently as artists whose work in performance has had repercussions into our own day." Among some of the performances described are Buontalenti's "mock naval battle in the flooded courtyard of the Palazzo Pitti" (1589), Bernini's L'Inondazione (1638, Inundation of the Tiber), "in which the flood scene… caused a substantially built house to collapse," and Leonardo's Paradiso (1490) with "performers costumed as planets… revolv[ing] and... proclaiming the return of the Golden Age." Attanasio di Felice has written about modern art and performance for Flash Art and Portfolio. He lives and works in New York and Rome and is director of the Serra di Felice Gallery in New York. The guests now streamed into the Sala del giuoco alla pala, which had been arranged for the representation of the Paradiso, by Leonardo da Vinci, the Court mechanician. Then a train of powder exploded, and crystalline globes, like planets, were seen disposed in a circle, filled with water, and illumined by a myriad of living fires sparkling with rainbow colours. —DMITRI MEREZHKOVSKII, after the eyewitness account of Bernardo Bellincioni That area of interdisciplinary artistic concerns known as performance art finds its most significant prototypes in the Italian Renaissance. In other words, performance has been a key artistic activity from the very beginnings of our modern concept of the artistic role, correspondent with the emergence of what remains our guiding principle of individualism in society. The relationship of Renaissance performance to developments in all the plastic arts, in architecture, and in philosophy was not merely casual but causal, performance serving frequently as the highly flexible testing ground for ideas then finding their way into painting and architecture. The most influential philosophical ideas for the Quattrocento were those Neoplatonic ideals that found their way through allegory into poetry and painting, and that interested even several powerful noble patrons. As early as 1438 there was a debate at Ferrara between Platonists and Aristotelians, the Roman Catholic Church being a proponent of Aristotle. The arrival in Italy of many Greek scholars after the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453 was of major importance in providing the opportunity for a greater diffusion of Platonic thought. Those who embraced it were called "humanists" and were even encouraged by the papacy for a few years in the person of Pope 14

Nicholas V (1447-1455); under the Medici the Platonic Academy was established at Florence with the guidance of Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola. Thus Neoplatonic philosophy played a part in determining the nature of many courtly commissions, and indeed colored the patron's concept of the artist's role. Aside from the specifically Neoplatonic content to be found in much of the earliest performance art, the idea that the Earth itself is but an imperfect representation of the perfect forms to be found only in the empyrean lent to Neoplatonically inspired rituals the weight of being considered parallel realities, that is, creations at least as "real" as the world around them. Thus, as the officially acknowledged erectors of parallel realities, most readily manifested in performance art, artists came to be regarded as creators rather than mere artisans. A most extraordinary example was Sigismondo Malatesta, the Prince of Rimini, so passionately committed to Platonic ideals that he fought bloody battles with the Turks in the Peloponnesus for the sole purpose of recovering the ashes of the philosopher Gemistus Pletho. Malatesta commissioned Alberti to build the Tempio Malatestiano, chronologically the first example of what is considered Quattrocento architecture. The sarcophagi set in niches in the outer walls of this Platonic temple contain the remains of humanists whom Sigismondo had attracted to his court, or with whom he had engaged in particularly meaningful discourse, including Gemistus. In his book The Stones of Rimini Adrian Stokes commented: "There have been investigators who thought they found more than one hint of esoteric rite and symbolic manipulation staged in the Tempio." As opposed to the Medici, who tended to use artists as political tools, while paying elaborate lip service to Platonism (which is already something), Sigismondo gave artists such as Piero della Francesca free rein to be creative entities. In Quattrocento Italy, once the liberating factor of a philosophic framework was established, artists manifested work in every form possible to the technology of the day. From the design and execution of fountains to the production of spectacles for the courts, the artists of the Renaissance were encouraged in the pursuit of their pronounced multimedia concerns. Their normal activities included the creation of trionfi (triumphal processions frequently requiring the construction of elaborate temporary arches), cortei (court pageants), grottescherie (masquerades with bizarrely costumed participants), and carri allegorici (allegorical vehicles often used in jousts). A long line of such artists extending through the Baroque era included Filarete (c. 1400-1469), Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo, Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554), Baldassare Peruzzi (1481-1536), Giulio Parigi (d. 1635), Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Stefano della Bella (1610-1664), Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709), Giovanni Servandoni (1695-1766), and Antonio Galli Bibiena (1700-1774). Donato Bramante (1444-1514) was called upon by the Duke of Milan in 1492 to create "una fantasia per mettere a spettacolo." Raphael painted the sets for Ariosto's Lena. In 1535 Polidoro da Caravaggio designed a triumphal procession for Emperor Charles V at Messina. In 1589 Bernardo Buontalenti (1536-1608) planned elaborate festivities for the marriage of Christine de Lorraine and Ferdinando de’ Medici in Florence, including a mock naval battle in the flooded courtyard of the Pitti Palace. The greatest historians have lamented the dearth of documentationof Renaissance artists' performance. Sir Kenneth Clark wrote, "In studying the architecture and even the painting of the Renaissance, we must always remember that one whole branch of each is almost completely lost to us—the architecture and decoration which was designed for pageants and masquerades." This ephemerality was not lost on Renaissance man either. Some attempts were made to create a record of these works, particularly triumphal processions honoring the mighty, in the form of commemorative books especially prepared for the occasion, which reproduced the principal motifs devised by the artists. These 15

souvenir booklets, which themselves have largely been lost, in a way parallel the revival of artists' books that coincided with the renewed performance activity early in this century. Yet, despite the lack of direct evidence and the disappointment of not being able to appreciate the no doubt wonderful works so conveniently achieved through these temporary media, there are several interesting trains of thought that may be deduced from the records that do exist. Three of the great seminal figures of the early Renaissance, High Renaissance, and Baroque, respectively, Alberti, Leonardo, and Bernini stand out prominently as artists whose work in performance has had repercussions into our own day. Although each achieved his greatest fame in a different discipline, namely architecture, painting, and sculpture, each engaged in all three of these activities and more. Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), through the progress of his development, makes clear to us the intrinsic connections between painting perspective, stage design, and architecture. Largely remembered today for his rediscovery of Vitruvius and the innovative application of ancient architectural precepts in such structures as the Malatesta Temple (1450), Alberti was for many years before his first architectural projects engaged in painting as a form of personal research and in optical experiments. During his formative years he was already a famed and sought-after personage, well known for his humorous dinner speeches, the texts of which, as well as a funeral oration for his dog, survive today. Alberti came to realize that ancient Greek knowledge of perspective, inferred from references by Vitruvius to lost treatises, derived from scenographic design techniques developed within the context of performance practice. Alberti authored the first Renaissance treatise on painting and systematic perspective in 1435, expressing the Platonic view that the plastic arts represent a sort of frozen music or an artificial fixing of the universal flux, in respect to which, performance, providing temporarily evident intervals, may be regarded as a nexus between the fluid and the fixed. It is no wonder then that his comedic play Philodoxus is the first conceived as a carefully controlled aesthetic whole, Alberti having designed every element, including the pioneering use of illusionistic perspective, the seed of that tendency toward theatricalization in all the arts which culminated in the Baroque. Questions of illusion and reality, provoked by Platonic perceptions and instigating the scientific speculations of Alberti and Leonardo, find a curious parallel early in this century when the major reemphasis of artists' performance by the Futurists was added to by their professed interest in the philosophical ramifications of physics, notably in Bergson and Einstein, and a renewed appreciation of those same Pythagorean precepts, such as the "golden section," which fascinated artists during the Renaissance. Our "shadowy" apprehension of reality in terms of flux, so graphically parabled by Plato in his Republic, has made its greatest impact through Einstein's theories, which demonstrate that energy and mass are interchangeable in the inseparable continuum of space and time. Quantum physics actually refers to subatomic partides, the shadowy stuff of which the universe is made, as “tendencies to exist.” These findings, affirmed by Heisenberg’s principle of “indeterminacy,” indicating how the nature that we seek merely to observe cannot help but be altered by man’s presence, confirm Renaissance man’s largely intuitive recognition of his own personal sense of spatialty, thus making it possible for Leonardo and Bramante to conceive of an art of performance and for us to recognize it as such today. The hallmarks of the Renaissance man—syncretic breadth of vision, multiplicyt of talents, an exalted sense of personal creative force—were present to such an extraordinary degree in Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) that he was regarded with awe even by the great men of his time. 16

As a formulator of highly impressive pageants and smaller scale spectacles full of novelty and surprise, he was a legend in his own day, provoking unique commentary by contemporary diarists and historians. With something of the mischievous spirit of the trickster he liked to mystify and frighten observers, as in the following account by the patinter Giorgio Vasari: He formed a paste of a certain kind of wax, and as he walked he shaped animals very thin and full of wind, and by blowing into them, made them fly through the air, but when the wind ceased they fell to the ground. On the back of a most bizarre lizard, found by the vinedresser of the Belvedere, he fixed, with a mixture of quicksilver, wings composed of scales stripped from other lizards, which, as it walked, quivered with the motion; and having given it eyes, horns, and beard, taming it, and keeping it in a box, he made all his friends to whom he showed it, fly for fear. He used often to have the guts of a ram completely freed of their fat and cleaned, and thus made so fine that they could have been held in the palm of the hand; and having placed a pair of blacksmith’s bellows in another room, he fixed to them one of these, and, blowing into them, filled the room, which was very large, so that whoever was in it was obliged to retret into a corner; showing how, transparent and full of wind, from taking up little space at the beginning they come to occupy much, and likening them to virtue. He made an infinite number of such follies, and gave his attention to mirrors. It was through such "follies" that Leonardo undoubtedly perfected the techniques that permitted the range of fantastic effects he was able to achieve in his elaborate commissioned pageants, notably during the period at Milan where he was originally received as a musician. There, under the Sforza, he created his Paradiso in 1490 and Jupiter and Danae in 1496. Mythological themes, like the stories of Jupiter and his loves, were most commonly used as the basis for the design of court pageants and festive allegorical cars. But as the Platonists knew, as Vico attempted to ascertain by semantic proofs, and as Frazer, Freud, Jung, Eliade, and Deleuze have affirmed, these colorful episodes, so adaptable to the plastic arts and theatre, are of archetypical significance. This is not to say that conventions of mythological expression were not used by Leonardo and others to convey their own personal interpretations, just as the pageants themselves had as pretexts the ceremonial festivities of princely marriages and the like. As Walter Pater noted, "We have seen Leonardo using incidents of sacred story, not for their own sake, or as mere subjects for pictorial realization, but as a symbolical language for fancies all his own." The reinterpretation of symbolic devices so conveniently realized through temporary media makes of performance art a laboratory of metamorphoses of linguistic significations. Renaissance performance would undoubtedly be a fertile field for the observation of such linguistic Darwinism if we only had more concrete evidence to analyze. We are fortunate in the case of Leonardo's pageant of Paradiso, which was witnessed and described by the court poet Bernardo Bellincioni. Leonardo caused performers costumed as planets to revolve and recite verses proclaiming the return of the Golden Age. This specific performance has continued to exert its influence in the twentieth century. It is fascinating that Ferruccio Busoni based one act of his mysterious masterpiece, the opera Doktor Faust, on the Paradiso. He was particularly affected by Leonardo's use of crystalline globes of water to produce the Pythagorean "music of the spheres." Meditating on the chiaroscuro of Leonardo's character, his double nature turning at once toward Christ and Antichrist, Busoni composed a musical equivalent to his combination of "clear shadow and obscure light."


It is impressive to what extent the mere legend of Renaissance performance persists in its power to inspire artists through the philosophical tradition it evokes and in outward aspects of symbolic representation. Most notable in this regard have been the painter Filippo de Pisis (18961956) who appeared in the guise of a humanist; and at the present time Luigi Ontani who, in his tableaux vivants, has represented the demigods of antiquity as well as the now hardly less mythical figures of Leonardo and Raphael. Moreover, in their concrete mythopoetic actions, Leonardo and the others are in a larger sense the noble fathers of all successive performance artists. Among the few additional details that may be added about Leonardo's public spectacles there is little of revelatory significance, just a strengthening of what we already know. In an unusually diarylike note to be found at Windsor Castle, dated April 23, 1491, during the period at Milan, Leonardo mentions that he had been at the house of Galeazzo da Sanseverino to organize a spectacle for a joust in which the servants were to be costumed as wild men. A series of finely wrought drawings exists for masquerade costumes (c. 1512), containing also some such details of effect as a miniature waterfall, but for what event or where cannot be determined. Vasari describes the mechanical lion made during his final years in France, his last documented commission of any kind. The lion advanced a few steps and appeared to menace King Francis I, then its head opened revealing lilies in the form of the royal crest. Leonardo created other automata, the traditions for which go back to the Middle Ages and to the ancient Greeks. For this we have Athanasius Kircher (Musurgia Universalis, 1650) and other authorities. Leonardo designed and built ingenious mechanical drums and other instruments of great refinement. In fact, music and sound made up an important part of his artistic concerns. Many of his short compositions survive. By all accounts he was a highly accomplished musician and renowned improviser on the lyre; so much so that when he was first received at the Milanese court it was as the player of a curious silver lyre of his own making, in the form of a horse's head. Among his inventions are a sort of wind instrument whose function is based on his study of human anatomy. In what many have seen fit to regard as purely scientific researches, Leonardo conducted experiments that lent to his understanding not only of the mechanics of light and sound waves but also of the human senses, the relationships among them, and the phenomena that stimulate them. We know from his notebooks that he observed correspondences between the visual and auditory realms, the physical evidence of certain Platonic ideas. Even such seemingly trivial discoveries as that of the small heaps of dust that formed on a table struck with a hammer must have been of special significance for a mind such as Leonardo's. He was not only an incredibly acute observer of natural phenomena but also a keen observer of the effects of such phenomena on the human senses, and thereby on the emotions. He wrote, "Observe how much grace and sweetness are to be seen in the faces of men and women on the streets, with the approach of evening in bad weather." (He thus anticipated what would be discerned centuries later concerning changes in atmospheric ozone levels and their effect on mood.) In what has come down to us as the Treatise on Painting, Leonardo urges the study of gesture to determine those movements that best convey certain emotions: "That figure is most praiseworthy which, by its action, best expresses the passions of the soul." He applied his scientific and engineering knowledge to performance and he applied it, if I may beg the question for a moment, with a subtle understanding of the human heart, to move his audience as he would. 18

Much confusion has existed among admirers of Leonardo who for the past few centuries have had difficulty resolving what divides in their minds Leonardo the artist from Leonardo the scientist or simply nonartist. This division of roles has been particularly acute since the rationalism of Descartes became popular enough for people to begin thinking of knowledge and imagination as hindrances to each other. This conflict is essentially contained within the arguments of Descartes and his opponent Vico. An involvement with science and engineering goes hand in hand with the emergence of the role of artist-as-individual. Was not Giotto an architect; and certainly the creators of systematic perspective were mathematicians? In a Cartesian world the painter became, as the nineteenthcentury French saying went, "dumb as a painter." According to Vico man could achieve a surer knowledge of himself through his own creations (history, languages, laws) than through the study of natural science. Poets and artists through their ongoing reinterpretation of mythic knowledge provide the basis for a possible superior understanding of man. Leonardo seems to have maintained a tenuous balance for himself between these two extreme attitudes. Although nominally opposed to the Medicean Platonic academy and its worship of the past, this was at least in part due to differences in personalities. Leonardo later taught himself Latin grammar, and he was certainly concerned with the idea of flux (Gemistus stemmed all from Neptune), a sense of fluidity in the universe that contributed to his inability to "finish" anything. He was led in his final years to make many intense line-drawing studies of the motion of water, not the placid surfaces of lakes or the gentle flow of rivers but the utterly cataclysmic force of the deluge, a force beyond the capabilities of man's control until today. A few years earlier he produced more modest studies of flowing water encountering obstructions that seem purposely placed. Artists have always been known for their impressive actions: Alberti leaping, in a single bound, over a man's head, Leonardo bending horseshoes easily in his hands. This need for and admiration of unusual and difficult feats found its fullest gratification in the frightful fires, powerful explosions, and actual floods of the spectacles of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). Bernini is the earliest major artist about whose performance activities we have a substantial amount of documentation. As such he is a key not only to the age which he did more than any other to define, the Baroque, but also, inasmuch as he carried forward concepts from the past, he adds in retrospect to our understanding of the Renaissance. His career is marked from the start by a concern with ritual and spectacle. This is due in part, of course, to his lifelong attachment to the papacy with its increasingly elaborate rites and holy festivals, far from the simple purity of Gregorian chant. But it is also clearly essential to his personal development as an artist, and to the tenor of the age that he helped form. As the honored Bernini scholar Fagiolo dell'Arco wrote, He transformed immobility and certainty into movement and ambiguity. And this movement was not merely psychological and representational; it was actual movement. The statue had ceased to be the ideal: now it was the fountain, the theatrical set, the ephemeral construction. From all the evidence available, it is clear that Bernini's spectacles stimulated the imagination to contemplate the profound questions of the cosmos—space and time—that occupied the Platonically spirited artists of the Renaissance. However, his indisputable individuality as well as his philosophical concerns were assimilated within the bounds of the hybrid doxy of an at once stricter and more extravagant Counter-Reformation Catholicism. In his day artists were called on 19

to create sacred performances transforming entire church interiors for such ceremonies as the marathon "Forty Hours of the Sacrament." Renaissance performance art took most of its forms from the highly ritualized society of the Middle Ages when church processions and feudal formalities such as jousts were anonymously planned. Individualism was responsible for contaminating these forms with personal interpretations and for awakening a lust for fame that naturally led the men of an age obsessed with antiquity to those ancient metaphors for personal greatness, the triumph and its counterpart the triumphal arch. It is no coincidence that the first two explicitly Quattrocento structures are the triumphal arch of King Alfonso I of Naples and Alberti's Tempio Malatestiano, which incorporates the triumphal arch into the center of the facade. Bernini had both the inclination and the means vastly to expand the expressive scope of these forms from the past while satisfying with unprecedented grandiosity the love of virtuosic effect, achieved by emphasizing the basic elements of water, fire, and light. The age of the Baroque saw the ultimate theatricalization of the plastic arts embodied in the works, sculptural and architectural, of Bernini. Bernini's basic preoccupation with theatrical effect is clearly represented by his many staged spectacles, for which he wrote the scripts, designed the scenes and costumes, carved the sculptures, planned effects of lighting and sound, and undertook the complete direction and execution of the works himself, including elaborate feats of engineering. The most brilliant example was probably his L'lnondazione (Inundation of the Tiber) of 1638 in which the flood scene featured real rushing waters that alarmed the audience, and caused a substantially built house to collapse. The cupola of Saint Peter's in Rome remains partially melted as the result of Bernini's Allestimento di una Girandola (fireworks installation) of 1659. It has been suggested that he found inspiration not only from nature but also from the artistic camp, particularly from Peruzzi who some years before was fond of flooding the dining halls of villas, arranging for guests to eat in small boats. Drawing parallels between the Baroque phenomenon of spectacle informing plastic arts, we may quote Dorfles when he speaks of "qu'une des situations les plus curieuses de notre époque—dam le secteur des arts plastiques—(et non seulement des arts plastiques, mais aussi de la musique), est une tendence univoque vers la spectacularité, vers la théâtricalisation" ("that one of the most curious situations of our age—in the sector of the plastic arts [and not only of the plastic arts, but also of music], is an unequivocal tendency toward the spectacular, toward theatricalization"). Leonardo said: "Il dipintore disputa e gareggia colla natura" (The painter contends with and rivals nature). And in the realm of performance the artists of the Rinascimento created works that frequently combined a matrixing of Neoplatonic symbolism (seeking to reflect the perfect forms of the empyrean) with a love of display and effect for its own sake. However, the inevitable changes in social structure, involving the loss of interest in Neoplatonism on the part of princely and noble patrons, altered the combination of factors that had facilitated the creation of performances by artists who "contend with and rival nature" (as opposed to those who merely seek to reproduce it). There were also instances of the repression of Neoplatonism as when Botticelli's work was burned by Savonarola and when Malatesta was ordered to be burned in effigy in St. Peter's Square (on being informed of this, Malatesta commissioned from Giulio Romano an effigy suitable for that purpose). In other words, artists were being persuaded once more to descend from the heroic heights of true creators (that is to say "poets," from poietes, the maker), being able to conduct rituals in which they, as signifiers, imparted original autonomous knowledge to those who were present, to increasingly pursuing the recording of mundane visual experience. 20

The growing tendency toward specialization, which was becoming a factor in the 1500s of portrait painting, church decoration, mosaic work, sculpture, costume design, and architecture becoming mutually exclusive professions, reached an extreme that firmly established itself by the 1700s. By then there was nowhere to be found a painter or sculptor who was active in performance, but there had fully emerged the set designer, the costume designer, and so forth, who were considered artisans as such. Heavily contributing to these changes in artistic concerns was the steady secularization of philosophy, the attendant lessening of the significance of court ritual and pageantry, and the growth of public forms of theatre. Just as the withering of interest in court ritual (having lost its meaning in the ongoing social revolution) showed a proportionate decrease in performance art, so it follows that a key element in the notating of artists' performance must reside in an understanding of the significance of ritual in society. As a pioneering delineator of the concept of the class struggle, Vico traced the processes whereby social change affected the uses of language (in its total sense of communication) and imbued certain people (called by him "heroes" after the original prototypes), who constantly reappear in history, with the power to determine and demonstrate the meaning of certain words and actions. Examining the historic origins of performance art helps clarify the relationship of performance to painting and other forms today. The speculations of present-day Vasaris have in the early history of performance art been an invaluable aid to gaining the perspective necessary to discourse correctly on phenomena that are all too recent to allow easy analysis. Renaissance and Baroque performance art provide an example that contradicts the popular current view of performance as a symptom of a tendency toward dematerialization or even Minimalism in the arts. Rather, history points toward a distinct pattern of performance mediating between nature (the flux) and the plastic arts (the fixed) in a process at once of dissolution and materialization; in other words, the form in which the artist discovers for himself the truths of cycles and intervals (Rilke: "music, the breathing of statues"), of time, which he manifests more permanently in more enduring form. Bernini spoke eloquently of his allegorical figure of Time: The figure of Time carrying and revealing Truth is not finished. My idea is to show him carrying her through the air, and at the same time show the effects of Time wasting and consuming everything in the end. In the model I have set columns, obelisks, and mausoleums, and these things, which are shown overwhelmed and destroyed by Time, are the very things that support Time in the air, without which he could not fly even if he had wings.


ROSELEE GOLDBERG Performance: A Hidden History According to RoseLee Goldberg, performance art has been around for quite some time. She notes that the “history of performance art in this century can be seen as a series of waves,” and she points out that the Futurists, the constructivists, the Dadaists, and the Surrealists all “attempted to resolve problematic issues in performance.” RoseLee Goldberg is author of Performance: Live Art from 1909 to the Present (1979) and has been actively involved in performance art in the United States and England. She concludes this essay with the suggestion that art history demonstrates that artists have used performance “as a way of animating the many formal and conceptual ideas on which the making of art is based.” From Futurism to the present the history of performance raises fascinating questions about the nature of art as much as about art history as it is written. Not a continuous history, rather it tends to stop and start, to emerge during particular political and social climates. At times it appears as an outrageous publicity stunt for artists wishing to engage a wider public; at others it reinforces an analysis of the formal art notions of a period. Its variety and ephemerality pose difficulties of definition, as much as of recognition, in conventional art-history studies. Art historians have no ready category in which to place performance, and with good reason. For performance has always developed along the edges of disciplines such as literature, poetry, film, theatre, music, architecture, or painting. It has involved video, dance, slides, and narrative and has been performed by single individuals or by groups, in streets, bars, theatres, galleries, or museums. As a permissive open-ended medium, with endless variables, it has always been attractive to artists impatient with the limitations of more established art forms. Indeed, because the very nature of the form is about the crossbreeding of the arts, performance aggressively defies precise or easy definition. If this genre possesses any underlying common denominator, it is that performance is "live art" created by artists who closely relate their public confrontations to the fine-art modes of the time. The decision to perform live before an audience rather than to work in an isolated studio and to exhibit in a gallery removed from any direct relationship with the public-is an important factor in coming to grips with the phenomenon of performance. Conversely, public interest in the medium stems from an apparent desire of that public to gain access to the art world, to be a spectator of its ritual and its community. Like tribal ritual, it provides a presence for the artist in society while its references remain tightly knitted into the art context. This audience-performer relationship provides yet another characteristic of performance, which is that it can be both serious and entertaining: the motive to make art ideas available to a larger public inevitably suggests a level of playfulness or satire, which is used in some cases to demystify observers of their deeply held notions of the preciousness of art. Performance is the expression of artists who wish to challenge the viewers' perceptions of art and the limits of those perceptions. Each performer makes his or her own definition of performance in the very manner and process of execution, so that each work becomes an entirely unexpected combination of events. The form allows artists to make a "collage of media," and the means by which they do this are as diverse as the imaginations of the performance artists themselves. Moreover, the expertise, even the virtuosity, of performance artists often lies in their ability to manipulate the unlimited choice of material, much in the same way that an editor pieces together the hundreds of thousands of frames of a movie. 22

Such a radical stance against the conventions of art has made performance a catalyst in the history of twentieth-century art. Whenever a certain school, be it Cubism, Minimalism, or Conceptual art, seemed to have gained a stranglehold on art production and criticism, artists turned to performance as a way of breaking down categories and indicating new directions. The history of performance art in this century can thus be seen as a series of waves; successive periods when performance provided a release from the stagnation and complacency of set styles and attitudes. Moreover, within the history of the avant-garde—meaning those artists who led the field in breaking with each successive tradition—performance in the twentieth century has been at the forefront of such activity: an avant-avant-garde. Despite the fact that most of what is written today about the work of the Futurists, Constructivists, Dadaists, or Surrealists continues to concentrate on the art objects produced by each period, it was more often than not the case that these movements found their roots and attempted to resolve problematic issues in performance: when the members of such groups were still in their twenties or early thirties, it was in performance that they tested their ideas, only later expressing them in objects. The Italian Futurists, for example, began with manifestoes and performance before actually finding a painterly or sculptural means to represent those ideas. The Zurich Dadaists were poets, cabaret artists, and performers before creating Dada objects, if at all. Similarly the Parisians who would later draw up the Surrealist manifesto were poets, writers, and performers six years prior to suggesting the means to materialize those ideas in objets d'art. Usually, these artists turned to performance as a means to gain access to a wider audience and to shake up the public's attitude toward art, life, and culture. They printed manifestoes in daily papers, arranged group events in theatres, cafés, and in the streets,and organized public demonstrations. Such manifestations were intended as a reaction to the prevailing art establishment and to the disproportionate influence of critics in determining the "value" of art. But they were also aimed at halting what the Futurists saw as a stagnation of ideas produced by a museum mentality committed largely to exhibiting only the work of dead artists. Although performance is now becoming generally accepted as a medium of expression in its own right, relatively little is known about its rich and extensive evolution. Yet the discovery of this hidden history reveals that artists have always turned to live performance as one means among many of expressing their ideas. Examples prior to the twentieth century abound: Leonardo da Vinci created river pageants and performed experiments related to his artwork in front of invited audiences. Gian Lorenzo Bernini devised spectacles such as the L'lnondazione (Inundation of the Tiber), in which Rome's Piazza Navona, flooded with water, became the scene of mock naval battles. And in the 1890s Henri Rousseau held "soirees" in his Montmartre studio to provide entertainment for his artist friends, including Alfred Jarry and Pablo Picasso. Despite these isolated instances, recording the richness of performance history has been particularly complicated, primarily because of its ephemeral nature. Like the history of the theatre, the history of performance can be reconstructed only from scripts, texts, photographs, and the descriptions of onlookers. Furthermore, because it verges on so many disciplines, constructing its history necessitates the investigation of the history of theatre, of film, of music, of opera, of mime and dance, as much as of art. These parallel studies show that performance has more often than not been the result of the collaboration of artists from different disciplines— painters, poets, architects, dancers, magicians, and filmmakers—and it was at such times, when certain cultural capitals, be they Paris, Zurich, Berlin, Moscow, or New York, provided the context for such collaboration, that performance flourished. Such general observations on a medium that has only recently undergone scrutiny as a relevant genre with its own history and conditions are built on a survey of the social and intellectual lives, as much as the artistic output, of numerous artists. It is a story that moves from meeting places such as the Café Simplicissismus in Munich, the Stray Dog Café in Saint Petersburg, or the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich to innovative schools such as the Bauhaus and Black 23

Mountain College. And that story is colored by political events that made it seem untimely or irrelevant for artists to work only in the acceptable media of painting, sculpture, or drawing. The Italian Futurists began with manifestoes and performances that reflected the political mood that would eventually lead to the turmoil of World War I. Live performances in Paris, Milan, Naples, London, and Saint Petersburg played an important role in their early fame. In fact, their later painting and sculpture had less initial impact than did their outrageous performance "declamations" against what they branded as the "past-loving" art of the museum establishment. Some of the most effective early Futurist performance work was executed by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, a wealthy Alexandria-born poet who arrived in Paris in 1893 at the age of seventeen. Determined to establish his reputation in this fiercely competitive cultural capital of Europe, Marinetti devised a sure means to attract public attention. On February 20, 1909, he published the initial "Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism" in the large-circulation Parisian daily Le Figaro. "We will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind," it declared. "With the manifesto, we establish Futurism because we want to free this land from its smelly gangrene of professors, archaeologists, cicerones and antiquarians… from the numberless museums that cover her like as many graveyards." The manifesto caused exactly the scandal that Marinetti had intended. Later, the painter Umberto Boccioni, who had joined the cause, wrote, "we feel violently that it is our duty to shout out the prime importance of our efforts." What followed was the first Futurist Evening, presented at the Teatro Rosetti in Trieste in 1910. There Marinetti and his friends played on the underlying political tension of the town as an additional element in the unrehearsed performance. They flamboyantly declaimed the tenets of the manifesto, abusing the audience for its bourgeois values and triggering a riot. Public scuffles, arrests, a day or two in jail, and considerable press coverage became the typical Futurist fare in the wake of the Trieste episode. Anticipating that their actions would be regarded with "contempt," their 1910 "Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting" declared that "the name of 'madman' with which it is attempted to gag all innovators should be looked upon as a title of honor.' The artists turned to variety theatre as a model for their performances, because it destroyed "the Solemn, the Sacred, the Serious and the Sublime in Art with a capital A." Above all, Futurist performance was an attack on the public's notion of life and art. And the excitement and scandal the Futurists produced reached Saint Petersburg and New York, as well as Paris and Zurich. Within the decade similar events were being staged throughout European art centers. Like the Futurists, the original Zurich Dadaists came together as a group as a result of particular political circumstances—World War I. Zurich was the neutral retreat for conscientious objectors to the war, and a small bar in the Spiegelgasse became the fertile setting for Dada performance. The Cabaret Voltaire opened its door on February 5, 1916, to a full house. For its founders—cabaret artist Emmy Hennings and poet Hugo Ball—the opening of the club was an opportunity to re-create something of the cabaret life they had left behind in Munich. But the founding of an art movement as such was far from their intention. The press release announcing the cabaret opening explained that they merely wished to "create a center for artistic entertainment." The cabaret, which was decorated with Futurist posters and included a small stage, was soon bursting at the seams. Participants became adept at particular performance styles. According to contemporary accounts, Emmy Hennings sang in French and Danish, and Tristan Tzara read "traditional style" poems, which he fished out of his various coat pockets. Richard Hülsenbeck 24

swished his cane while reciting poems with a "Negro rhythm," and Ball invented what he called a new species of "verse without words," or "sound poems," that he read from notes on randomly placed music stands. Such activities were not thought of as creating an identifiable Dada art. In fact, the term was coined only several months after the cabaret program began. Ball believed that the insistence on an entirely original art was pretentious and unrealistic. "The artist who works from his freewheeling imagination is deluding himself about his originality," he wrote. "He is using a material that is already formed and so is undertaking only to elaborate on it." The members of the cabaret wanted instead to make it the focal point for the "newest art," presenting a spectrum of contemporary poetry, art, and music. Not surprisingly, in light of the differing creative energies within the group, its members often found themselves in conflict, and Cabaret Voltaire lasted only five months. Tzara,who wished to make an official movement out of Dada, left for Paris to join the group that would five years later write the Surrealist manifesto. Hülsenbeck returned to Berlin, where it would not be long before Dada Berlin was formed. Meanwhile, the Bauhaus had opened its doors in Weimar under the direction of Walter Gropius, who called for the unification of all the arts in a "cathedral of Socialism." A stage workshop, the first course in performance ever given in an art school, had been discussed from the first months as an essential aspect of the curriculum. In 1923 Oskar Schlemmer, painter and choreographer, took over its direction. Schlemmer's fascination with performance as a means to bring together all the arts was in keeping with the Bauhaus ideal. His own obsession, as expressed in his painting, sculpture, and performance, was to devise a theory of body movements in space, and it was his particular interpretation of these various media that gave performance at the Bauhaus its special quality. Works such as Slaf Dance (1927), Game With Building Blocks (1926), or Gesture Dance (1926) revealed Schlemmer's methodical transition from one medium to the other; from the twodimensional surface of his paintings to the plastic qualities of his reliefs, and finally to the animatedly plastic art of the human body. Ultimately, the Bauhaus developed a performance mode entirely its own, at once more playful and more formal than its provocative Futurist and Dadaist models. By the end of World War II performance had clearly emerged as a medium unto itself, and its influence spread rapidly. Bauhaus-inspired performance took place in the late 1940s at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. In 1952 john Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, David Tudor, and Merce Cunningham—all of whom were at the college—helped produce the now-legendary Untitled Event, a collage of film, improvised "noise music," dance, and poetry that became the prototypical Happening. During the mid-1960s artists better known for their paintings and sculpture, such as Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, and Robert Morris, devised extraordinary gatherings of artists and the public. Fluxus, a movement inspired by Dada, appeared in the United States and mounted festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, performance is as varied as its own history. Examples abound, particularly in New York City, where art spaces such as The Kitchen Center or the Franklin Furnace in SoHo present nightly events, focusing their programs almost exclusively on live art. The terms that have sprung up in the 1970s to describe various aspects of performance—body art, living art, living sculpture, autobiography—are an indication of the very different approaches to the medium taken by contemporary artists. Indeed, the open charter of performance—anything can happen, any number of materials can be used, and any length of time can be appropriated for the work—has 25

resulted in an extraordinarily diverse spectrum of productions. A representative selection would include the mix of narrative, film, and specially constructed musical instruments done by Laurie Anderson, or Pat Oleszko's cabaretlike presentations in startling costumes. It would include work by artists such as Joan Jonas or Meredith Monk, who for many years have worked “live" almost exclusively, or an emerging younger generation of artists such as Robert Longo or Jack Goldstein, who use performance as one aspect of work in the related media of film, records. and wall reliefs. Museums in the United States and Europe have acknowledged the importance of the form by staging festivals and conferences, often funded by government agencies. Despite this official recognition, however, performance remains a challenge to art critics and public alike, for it continues to question the basic criteria by which art is evaluated. The stance of performance artists has historically been a radical one: against the establishment (be it art or politics), against the commercialization of art, and against the strict confinement of museums and galleries. Performance artists have acted against the overriding belief that art is limited to the production of art objects, insisting instead that art is primarily a matter of ideas and actions. Each performance calls on the audience to experience the making of an artwork rather than contemplating static objects within an exhibition framework. History shows that artists have used performance not merely as a means to attract publicity for their seemingly wild and bohemian life-styles but also as a way of animating the many formal and conceptual ideas on which the making of art is based. ..[T]he past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past," wrote T. S. Eliot.1 So, this present-day evaluation of performance provides a special lens through which to review past art history. And if the history of performance is any guide, it is clear that performance, whatever form it may take, can be expected to remain a vital catalyst for the culture of the future. “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” in The Great Critics, comp. and ed. James Harry Smith and Edd Winfiled Parks, 3rd ed. Rev. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1951), p.715.


ANNABELLE HENKIN MELZER The Dada Actor and Performance Theory Several contributers to this book have linked today’s performance art to the Dada movement of the early years of this century. In this essay Annabelle Henkin Melzer links performance theory to specific Dada works and artists, including Tristan Tzara, Hugo Ball, Marcel Janco, Hans Arp, and others.* The author recognizes that the difficulty of separating the Dada artist into artistic categories is as “hopeless as it is irrelevant,” and she emphasizes the element of chance as a peculiarly vital characteristic of the art of the Dadaists. Melzer is associate professor of theatre at the University of Tel Aviv, Israel. Her essays on European avant-garde performance have appeared in Comparative Drama, Theatre Quarterly, and Theatre Research International. Her book Latest Rage and the Big Drum: Dada and Surrealist Performance (1980) was awarded the 1981 Joseph Hazan price for twentieth-century art literature. "Are you one of those people who call themselves dadaists… ?" "Yessir," I said, stiffly clicking my heels on Zurich's neutral soil. "Well," he said in a paternal and almost melancholy tone of voice, "you'll be hearing from us." "Yessir," I replied in an even stiffer tone (if that was possible). The army doctor looked back at me as he was about to step through the doorway: "Be careful and avoid excitement."—Richard Hülsenbeck, Memoirs of a Dada Drummer It's too idiotic to be schizophrenic.—CARL JUNG, on the Dada productions The name Dada may have lent a new notoriety to the young Zurich movement but the nature of the performing experiments, the "deeds," remained basically the same. The work with sounds and language, with simultaneous poetry, with costuming and masks, as well as the attacks on the audience all grew in scope and intensity. Marcel Janco captured a soiree at the Cabaret Voltaire in a painting described by Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia: In an overcrowded room, teeming with color, several fantastic personages are seated on a platform: they are supposed to represent Tzara, Janco, Ball, Mrs. Hennings and your humble servant. We are in the midst of an enormous fumult. The people about us are shouting, laughing, gesticulating. We reply with sighs of love, salvos of hiccups, poetry, Wa Was, and the miowings of Mediaeval Bruitists. Janco plays an invisible violin and bows down to the ground. Mrs. Hennings, with the face of a madonna, tries to do the split. Hülsenbeck beats incessantly on his big drum while Ball, pale as a chalk dummy, accompanies him on the piano. Tristan Tzara, describing "The Dada Night" of July 14, 1916, wrote: In the presence of a compact crowd Tzara demonstrates, we demand the right to piss in different colors, Hülsenbeck demonstrates, Ball demonstrates… the dogs bay and the dissection of Panama on the piano… shouted Poem—shouting and fighting in the hall, first row approves second row declares itself incompetent the rest shout, who is the strongest, the big drum is brought in, Hiilsenbeck against2000, Ho osenlatz? accentuated by the very big drum and little bells on his left foot and the people protest shout smash windowpanes kill each other demolish fight here come the police interruption. This evening was at once the climax of the first period of Zurich Dada and the beginning of the second phase in which Tzara's more negative, more nihilistic drives would eventually force 27

Ball's retirement from the group. The program, perhaps because of the holiday evening (July 14, Bastille Day), perhaps because of Tzara's growing desire to reach a larger public, had been moved out of the confines of the Cabaret Voltaire and into the larger Zunfthaus zur Wagg. The nature of the events remained basically the same in an evening advertised to include "music, the dance, theory, manifestoes, poems, pictures, costumes and masks," with the participation of Arp, Ball, Emmy Hennings, Hülsenbeck, Janco, and Tzara himself. Janco exhibited some paintings and was also responsible for the costumes and sets. The costumes, as usual, were "en papier, en carton, en chiffons, de toutes les couleurs, fixes avec des épingles" ("made of paper, cardboard, and scraps of many colors, stuck together with pins"). They were perishable, temporary, ugly, absurd; all intended to reinforce a sense of spontaneity and to fight any impression of formal, aesthetic coordination, any adherence to "Art" with its rules and sense of the establishment. Original musical compositions by the composer Hans Heusser were played, and a Cubist dance was performed: "each man his own big drum on his head, noise, Negro music." Five literary experiments were performed by Tzara "in tails before the curtain: “a gymnastic poem, a concert of vowels, a bruitist poem, a static poem, and a vowel poem. The vowel poem was simply a sequence of vowels: a a o, i e o, a i i, and so on. The static poem involved chairs on which were placed placards, each containing a word. A curtain was lowered and raised, each time revealing a new ordering of the words. None of the various genres of "poem" was far from the "accidental poem" for whose composition Tzara's instructions read: To make a dadaist poem Take a newspaper Take a pair of scissors Choose an article as long as you are planning to make your poem Cut out the article Then cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them in a bag. Shake it gently Then take out the scraps one after the other in the order in which they left the bag Copy consecutively. Ball, who by this time was well into his experimentations with phonic poetry and rhythms, performed some of his poems as well. A half year later, in March 1917, he wrote in his diary, the human figure is progressively disappearing from pictorial art and no object is present except in fragmentary form. This is one more proof that the human countenance has become ugly and outworn, and that things which surround us have become objects of revulsion. The next step is for poetry to discard language as painting has discarded the object, and for similar reasons. Nothing like this has ever existed before. But the art of creating such a poetry was already in progress. Ball's recollection of the reading of his "abstract poems" on that July evening bears transcribing in full, for it is one of the clearest descriptions we have of a Dada "event." I wore a special costume designed by Janco and myself. My legs were encased in a tight-fitting cylindrical pillar of shiny blue cardboard which reached to my hips so that I looked like an obelisk. Above this I wore a huge cardboard coat-collar, scarlet inside and gold outside, which was fastened at the neck in such a way that I could flap it like a pair of 28

wings by moving my elbows. I also wore a high, cylindrical, blue and white striped witchdoctor's hat. I had set up music stands on three sides of the platform and placed on them a manuscript, written in red crayon. I officiated at each of these music stands in turn. As Tzara knew all about my preparations, there was a real little premidre. Everyone was very curious. So, as an obelisk cannot walk, I had myself carried to the platform in a blackout. Then I began, slowly and majestically. "gadji beri bimba glandridi laula lonni cadori gadjamma gramma berida bimbala glandri galassasslaa ulitalomini gadji beri bin blassag lassalal aula lonni cadorsus assalab im Gadiama tuffm i zimzalla binban gligia wowolimai bin beri ban…” After an initial period of confusion, the audience exploded: laughing, screaming, applauding. Ball, immobilized in his costume, faced them, motionless and unmoved. The accents became heavier, the emphasis stronger, the consonants harsher. I very soon realized that my powers of expression were not going to be adequate to match the pomp of my staging—if I wanted to remain serious, and this I wanted above all things. In the audience I saw Brupacher, Jelmoli, Laban, and Frau Wigman. Fearing a debacle, I pulled myself together. I had now completed "Labadas Gesang an die Wolken" (Labada's Song to the Clouds) at the music stand on my right, and Elefantenkarawane (Elephant Caravan) on the left, and now turned back to the middle stand, flapping my wings energetically. The heavy sequences of vowels and the ponderous rhythm of the elephants had allowed me one last crescendo. But how could I get to the end? Then I noticed that my voice, which had no other way out, was taking on the age-old cadence of priestly lamentation, the liturgical chanting that wails through all the Catholic churches of East and West. "zimazim urallala zimazim uralla zimazim zanzibar zimzalla zam elifantolim brussala bulomen brussala bulomen tromtata veio da bang bang affalo purzamai affalo purzamai lengado ter…" I do not know what gave me the idea of using this music, but I began to chant my vowel sequences like a recitative, in liturgical style, and tried not only to keep a straight face but to compel myself to be in earnest. For a moment I seemed to see, behind the Cubist mask, the pale, anguished face of the ten-year-old boy who, at parish requiems and high masses, had hung on the priest's every word, avid, and trembling. Then the electric lights went out as arranged, and, bathed in sweat, I was carried down from the platform, a magical bishop. Ball was perfectly aware of the primitive and "magical" import of his metrical and phonetic experiments: "We have charged the word with forces and energies which made it possible for us to rediscover the evangelical concept of the 'word' (logos) as a magical complex of images." In his writing Ball withdrew to the "innermost alchemy of the word," surrendering the word as a promoter of logic in favor of Tzara's dictum "thought is made in the mouth." It was in performance, however, that the impact of the spontaneously formed, alogical, rhythmJinked word reached its full power. With drumbeats in the background and with a dead-serious expression on his face, Ball presented himself, a multicolored obelisk, before his audience. The three music stands on which his texts of phonic poetry rested demarcated the boundaries of his small stage. The tubular cardboard shapes encasing him prevented almost any movement but the mock-heroic flapping of his wings. They were of the same ready-made materials as the other Dada costumes: cardboard tacked and pasted, and patches of colored paint. Ball's priestly garb as well as his tubular costume on another Dada occasion, both products of the rectilinear vocabulary of 29

Cubism, are striking in their resemblance to the "abstract-puppets" of Hans Arp and his wife, Sophie Täuber, as well as to the conical forms of Fortunato Depero's Futurist figures. The puppets, which consisted mostly of thread spools joined together, were used in performances at the Cabaret Voltaire.1 Their mechanical and robotlike appearance was occasionally relieved by a bit of feather or a drape of rag, but by and large they were formed like the Futurist figures and Ball's cardboard encasement of geometric shapes and harsh joints, of chimney heads and pointers for hands. The actor had been abstracted, and the Dada costume itself stood as a reaction against the "arts" of sewing and design, against permanence, and against any sort of subtlety in characterization. Ball's costume and others' consistently evoke the feeling of a school play, a masquerade, or a birthday party: something infantile, amateurish, and hastily put together. This attraction to the childlike is linked to the Dadaists at many levels. The phonetic gibberish and cacophony of natural sound that the Dada performer reveled in is as suggestive of childish regression as the name Dada itself. Ball wrote that the aim of the Dadaist was to "surpass oneself in naiveté and childishness." He described in no uncertain terms his unswerving attraction to childhood: "childhood as a new world, and everything childlike and phantastic, everything childlike and direct, everything childlike and symbolical in opposition to the senilities of the world of grown ups." Throughout the pranks, both social and artistic, one cannot avoid the sensation of a group of highly sophisticated "bad" kids, justifying the acting out of their libidinal and asocial impulses by working within the institutionalized (although they would deny it) framework of a movement that, thereby, gave them the prerogatives of assembly, publicity, and pontification. I do not mean this to sound as damning as it does, but there is an unequivocal sense that the Dadaists created their art despite all their declared efforts to the contrary. If there was to be no art, then all Dada efforts were to be good substitutes for it. I return to Ball, to the costumed performer carried onstage in darkness and suddenly revealed to begin his incantatory chants. All this was meant to arouse and shock the audience, yet one has the feeling here (a feeling corroborated by the performer's own recounting of the event), and in other Dada events as well, that the ensemble of performer(s), costume, mask, phonetic text, and drum, plus the permission to ululate and crow to one's heart's content was intended to affect the performer as much as to work its effect on the public. In the Dadaist struggle for primacy between process and product, process emerged the victor, and as with much of contemporary psychophysically oriented theatre,2 one often has the uneasy feeling (uneasy because it places the spectator at a disadvantage) that the actor is having a fuller, more satisfying experience than the audience. This sensation pervades almost all encounters with the Dadaists in performance (and changes significantly when we approach the later theatrical works of the Surrealists). While Ball is carried off in a state of such fevered exaltation that it results in his nervous collapse, the audience is at best roused to "shouting and fighting in the hall," and one can even find "several elderly Englishwomen taking careful notes." This is not to minimize the hurly-burly in the audience on repeated occasions but to focus on the audience's basic remove (or distance) from what was going on onstage as opposed to the performer's intense involvement. The quality of experience the performer desired for himself was different from what he wished to present to the audience. To his audience he said, "I will make you a Dadaist by inciting your indignation. I will shake your bourgeois bastion of complacency by tomfoolery, infantilism, contempt for venerated critical standards, and the use of vulgar language. I will preach accident and irrationality." And, for the audience, the performance remained largely an experience of agitation and arousal. For the performer, however (let the Dadaists say what they will about their antiart predilections), the performing experience was an artistic one. There was, however, another, more intimate audience whose presence cannot be ignored and whose experience of the performance more closely resembled the Dada performer's own. That 30

audience was the Dada group itself. There can be little doubt that the Dadaists created and performed for one another with at least as much relish as they manipulated their audiences. The importance of "the group" was paramount. In the Café de la Terrasse, their first meeting place in Zurich, Tzara, Serner, and Arp together wrote a cycle of poems titled The Hyperbole of the Crocodile's Hairdresser and the Walking Stick. The meeting place soon shifted to the Odéon (in sympathy with a waiters' strike at the Terrasse) where two or three tables were not sufficient to hold the Dadaists' burgeoning circle of friends. They wound up reserving half of the Rami Strasse corner of the Odéon for themselves. Here, the group sat for hours, introducing one another to those various people who chanced into their midst: Dr. Oscar Goldberg, the numerologist; Erich Unger, who had studied classical philosophy and the Cabala; the heavy-bearded Augusto Giacometti; and the fiery Spaniard del Vajo, who vied with Ball for the affections of Emmy Hennings. It was open house every day, but the center held. If it was not at the Odéon, the group might be at Hack's bookshop or at Laban's ballet school, where the Dadaists established both permanent and fleeting emotional ties with the young dancers Mary Wigman, Sophie Tduber (who became Mrs. Hans Arp), Susanne Perrottet, Maria Vanselow (who went around with Janco's brother, Georges), and Maya Kruseck (Tzara's petite amie). When the café sessions waned, a number of the group might walk along the Limmatquai, opening one restaurant door after another to shout within, Vive, Dada! And then there was always the work of putting out the journal Cabaret Voltaire and its successor Dada, or working on the editions of the Dada Library, which succeeded in bringing out two publications: Tzara's short play, La première aventure céleste de M. Antipyrine, with illustrations by Janco; and Hülsenbeck's Fantastick Prayers, illustrated by Arp. The evenings found them reunited at the Cabaret, where they often stayed till the early hours of the morning: "I go home in the morning light/The clock strikes five, the sky grows pale,/A light still burns in the hotel;/The cabaret shuts for the night" (Emmy Hennings). Hennings went home with Ball, Janco, and Arp to their respective lodgings, and Richter and Tzara to adjoining rooms in the Hotel Limmatquai. Even for the night the group barely separated. Under these conditions the importance of the group's individual members is not surprising. The evening programs were undoubtedly planned over rounds of coffee and beer (together), and the programs themselves hashed over the next day. Again coffee, again together. The circle of people who understood and delighted in the series of nightly devotions and exorcisms was generally limited to that very circle of people who perpetrated the activities. First and foremost, however, the Dada actor performed for himself, in search of himself. In accord with Apollinaire's poem "Cortège," One day One day I said to myself Guillaume it's time you turned up So I could know just who I am . . . All those who turned up and were not myself Brought one by one the pieces of myself the Dadaists tracked the "pieces of themselves": Ball in his incantatory "trips," Hrilsenbeck banging on the big drum, and Tzara codifying the principle by writing, "Art is a private afiair, the artist produces it for himself." Richter as well points to the importance of individual creation for each member of the group: "The Cabaret Voltaire was a six-piece band. Each played his instrument, i.e., himself, passionately and with all his soul. Each of them, difierent as he was from all the others, was his own music, his own words. His own rhythm. Each sang his own song with all his might." The compartmented structure of the soiree was ideal for accommodating both the individual performer as well as groups disporting themselves in the spotlight. Most significant in this performing for oneself, which the Dadaists practiced, is the liberating creative method which it fostered and out of which it grew. "The artist cedes a measure of his control (and hence of his ego) to the materials and what transpires between them, placing 31

himself partially in the role of discoverer or spectator as well as that of originator.3 The element of "chance" and the "spontaneous act" took on new significance for performer and artist. Chance is the basis of Tzara's paper-bag poetry (shake the words) and much of Arp's poetry as well. He explained: "I tore apart sentences, words, syllables. I tried to break down the language into atoms, in order to approach the creative… Chance opened up perceptions to me, immediate spiritual insights." Hans Richter recounts in an anecdote the workings of chance in Arp's painting: Dissatisfied with a drawing he had been working on for some time, Arp finally tore it up, and let the pieces flutter to the floor of his studio on the Zeltweg. Some time later he happened to notice these same scraps of paper as they lay on the floor, and was struck by the pattern they formed. It had all the expressive power that he had tried in vain to achieve. How meaningful! How telling! Chance movements of his hand and of the fluttering scraps of paper had achieved what all his efforts had failed to achieve, namely expression. He accepted this challenge from chance as a decision of fate and carefully pasted the scraps down in the pattern which chance had determined. Arp himself attempted to record the process of his improvisational methodology in working on his "automatic drawings." The starting point in the creation of these works was the notion of vitality in the movement of the creative hand. First the artist would paint an entirely black surface. The black grows deeper and deeper, darker and darker before me. It menaces me like a black gullet. I can bear it no longer. It is monstrous. It is unfathomable. As the thought comes to me to exorcize and transform this black with a white drawing, it has already become a surface. Now I have lost all fear and begin to draw on the black surface. I draw and dance at once, twisting and winding, twining soft, white flowery round. A snail-like wreath… turns in, grows. While shoots dart this way and that. Three of them begin to form snakes' heads. Cautiously the two lower ones approach one another.4 Some art historians see Arp's use of chance only as a way of stimulating the imagination and as a starting point for images that were later consciously rearranged. Although this possibility of rearrangement may be granted the painter and the poet, it is hardly viable for the unrehearsed Dada performer. Ball came on stage, costumed and text-laden, with only the most general idea of what he was going to do. In his work with Janco's masks, Ball improvised on the spot a piece of music for the dances, which themselves emerged out of movements five minutes before, unanticipated and unpredictable. "What we want now," Tzara explained, "is spontaneity. Not because it is better or more beautiful than anything else. But because everything that issues freely from ourselves without the intervention of speculative ideas represents us." When the internal factor alone weighed in the balance, then no acquired technique was necessary for the creation of a work of art. The works of children and madmen were the ones to be admired and emulated. And chance was the only saving force that could liberate the artist from centuries of restrictive rationality.5 All of these Dada notions did not, of course, emerge full-blown from a vacuum. In 1919 Paul Kammerer wrote a book called The Law of Seriality, which attempted to develop a theory around "dreamlike" associations and to discover the laws governing acausal relationships. Carl Gustav Jung wrote of "the power of attraction of the relative, as if it were the dream of a greater, to us unknowable Consciousness." The first book on children's art had been translated into German, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner "discovered" the "primitive" arts of Africa and Oceania in the Dresden Ethnological Museum. Were the Dadaists really open to the subconscious, or merely involved with a series of jesting situations that relied on the element of chance for their ultimate form? Jacques Rivière, in his "Reconnaissance à Dada," argues for the former: Saisir l'être avant qu'il n'ait cédé à la compatibilité, I'atteindre dans son incohérence ou mieux sa cohérence primitive, avant que I'idée de contradiction ne soit apparue et ne 32

I'ait forcé i se réduire, à se construire; substituer à son unité logique, forcément acquise, son unité absurde seule originelle.6 (To seize being, before it had surrendered to consistency, overtaking it in its coherence, or better still, its primitive coherence before the notion of contradiction had appeared, forcing it to be limited, framed; to substitute for its logical unity acquired by force, its absurd unity which alone is primordial.) Although I have spoken of "chance" in the paintings of Arp, the poems of Tzara, and the performing of Ball, I must remark that trying to separate the Dada artist into plastic artist, littérateur, and theatre person is as hopeless as it is irrelevant. The elements of chance, spontaneity, and the immediacy of the creative act were championed by painters, poets, and performers alike. It is impossible not to mention the experiments in painting by members of the Dada group as a part of their theatrical work. The Laban dancers danced in front of Arp's biomorphic cucumbers: products of an experiment to provoke the internal psychological processes and emerge with a "plastic representation of an internal event." Ernst's collages are the visual counterpart of the simultaneous poem, instantaneously presenting contradictory data in the tradition of Lautréamont's "chance meeting of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissection table," while Apollinaire's radical defense ofollage and, papiers collés in The Cubist Painters (1913) opened the way not only for an incredible liberation of the plastic arts but of the performing arts as well. He stated: "You may paint with whatever material you please, with pipes, postage stamps, postcards, or playing cards, candelabras, pieces of oilcloth, collars, painted paper, newspaper." The art repertoire had been expanded to all existing sights and objects. Art, no longer in the service of religion, ethics, history, or government, saluted an end to descriptive content. If painting increasingly sought "the possibilities of painting," then theatre, searching for the possibilities of theatre, returned to its origins in the actor as performer. A word more about the Dada actor: if we divide the body of actors into three major varieties: the skilled actor, the masked actor, and the personal actor, such a division may be helpful in understanding the Dada performer by relating him to this last group. The skilled actor is one most clearly recognized by the skill he presents before the audience: the acrobat and his bodily contortions, the tightrope walker and his daring abilities. Rather than seeing the actor (him), we see the skill (it). We look at the actor's virtuosity; we are thrilled and aghast at what he can do that we cannot. The Dada performer had no skill. With the exception of Laban's dancers (who, although they were not Dadaists, did participate in Dada performance), no Dadaist who ventured on stage did so with a performing skill greater than that of the average artist in the street. That he had more daring (and quite specific and driving motivation for his performances) is for the moment beside the point. The Dadaist was not a skilled performer. The masked actor works behind a mask or role. He is most simply the actor within the traditional play. Watching him perform, we know him as Faustus or Oedipus and, with our "willing suspension of disbelief," we allow him to take us into the life of his character. He will excite us only as much as we are moved by the character he "lives" on the stage. Afterward, the more sophisticated may comment, "look at who he [the actor] can become." The average spectator will remain entranced by the mask. No one ever went home from the Cabaret Voltaire speaking of the characters X or Y, and although the Dadaists used real masks, they never so lost themselves to the mask that one was not always aware, "Oh, there's Tzara, kicking up his feet." The Dada actor was the personal actor, tied always onstage to the name, the identity that marked his offstage life. In this, he is most readily recognized as the nightclub star: Frank Sinatra, who sings to us as Frank Sinatra; Buddy Hackett, the stand-up comedian, who throughout his shenanigans remains Buddy Hackett. Film and television have blurred these distinctions by deifying the actor. They have washed out the line between the personal and the masked performer. We can hardly look at Dustin Hofiman in a role 33

without seeing Dustin Hoffrnan. The theatre still manages to retain some of the categorical difference. On the Dada stage at the Cabaret Voltaire, however, the actors were Tristan Tzara, Hugo Ball. Marcel Janco, Emmy Hennings, Hans Arp, and so forth, for the public at large. The audience never lost sight of the performer as an identifiable person, and as for the actor, Tzara presented Tzara, and Ball presented Ball. The personal actor, then, outfitted either in his clothes of everyday or in the hastily puttogether trappings of some outlandish masquerade, performed his menu of phonetic intonings, masked dances, and rhythmic instrumentals. Michael Kirby calls the setting for these performances a nonmatrixed environment. Kirby speaks of the performer in traditional theatre as performing within a matrix, a created world of time, place, and character (see "On Acting and Not-Acting"). The Dada performer, inasmuch as he is a personal actor, performs outside the matrix of character and time. The time is now, the performer is himself. There are no "given circumstances." The actor works within no physical setting. The stage, the small, slightly raised platform at the Cabaret Voltaire or the larger stages of the "provocation performances," was usually bare, or furnished with an occasional backdrop of abstract shapes painted by the members of the group, for example, the one painted by Arp and Richter for one of the grandes soirées. Richter has described it: "We began from opposite ends of immensely long strips of paper about two yards wide, painting huge black abstracts. Arp's shapes looked like gigantic cucumbers. I followed his example and we painted miles of cucumber plantations… before we finally met in the middle. Then the whole thing was nailed onto pieces of wood and rolled up until the performance." Performing before such a backdrop, never within it, the Dada actor worked in completely "unlocalized" space. The stage represented no place, it was the stage. It was important that it remain a stage, a clear dividing line between the actor and the audience. For all their innovative work in performance, the Dadaists guarded the line that separates actor from audience. It was not the proscenium that they protected (for they had no need of a picture frame of any sort to confine a theatre of illusion) but the slightly thrust stage of the presentational performer, a stage that allows him at times to address his audience directly and then again to withdraw to a position where the audience must regard him as separate from itself. The evening of Ball's triumphant bishopry saw the first production of Tzara's La première aventure cyleste de M. Antipyrine, a play in one act capped by a lengthy manifesto-monologue. The manifesto was recited by "Tristan Tzara," whose name was listed in the text in the same way that the fictitious character names preceded their individual speeches. In addition to'fzara there were nine other characters: Messrs. Bleubleu, Cricri, Boum Boum, Antipyrine (the hero of the title), Pipi, Npala Garroo, La Parapole, and Le Directeur. Also La Femme Enceinte. We do not know who played what role, although we do have the cast list for the play's second performance in Paris in 1920. Because Tzara played the role designated him in the text in Paris, it is likely that he did the same in Zurich. The text, with woodcuts by Janco, was published on July 28, 1916, in an edition limited to ten copies. Janco's woodcuts are abstract and offer no iconographic evidence about the Zurich production. The text itself has no stage directions. What we are left with, then, is a text of some 238 lines divided among ten characters. At first reading the text is a maze of impenetrable phrases strung one after the other, interspersed with pseudo-African words (Soso Bgai Affahous), phonetic gibberish (diin aha dzin aha bobobo), and freestanding vowels and syllables (oi oi oi oi… uu u u n pht). The title itself is a source of confusion, because "Antipyrine" has been translated as "Fire Extinguisher," but the word was also the name of a common Swiss headache remedy. The emphasis is quite clearly on sound rather than on meaning in the repetition of syllables ("immense, panse, pense et pense pense… la cathedrale, drale… drale… rendre, prendre, entre"), in internal and half rhymes ("amertume sans église allons allons charbon chameau/ synthétise amertume sur l'église isisise les rideaux/dododo"), in the names of the characters with their childish doubleness (Cricri, Pipi), and in the clearly alogical syntax and 34

non sequiturs we recognize from the verbal collages of the Zurich Dadaist simultaneous poems, "la fiévre puerperale dentelles et SO2H4/je pousse usine dans le cirque Pskow." In his use of the exotic rhythmic words of a pseudo-African tongue, Tzara merely followed the same muse that led him to write of the art of Africa and Oceania, to seek out the African drum rhythms and use them to shock the sensibilities of the Zurich bourgeoisie. The handiest reference a Continental burgher of 1916 had to the man of the dark continent was an image of the towering Senegalese mercenary brought to fight in the front lines of the war. From this he might well conclude that they were savages, an impression reinforced in the play by the coupling of exotic Africanisms with the fantasy images of sex and excrement: "L'organe sexuel est carré est de plomb est plus/gros que le volcan et s'envole au dessus de Mgabati/le grand nommé Bleubleu grimpe dans son/désespoir et y chie ses manifestations." Add to this a series of lists without purpose, "Quatre-cents chevaux soixante chameaux trois/cents peaux de zibelines cinq cents peaux d'hermines,/son mari est malade,/vingt peaux de renard jaunes trois peaux de chélizun/cents peaux de renard blancs et jaunes…” and two simultaneously recited poems of phonetic chants, and the Dada aim of incensing its public was sure to be achieved. Tzara termed the text a double quatralogue. It begins with the introduction of four characters: Bleubleu, Cricri, La Femme Enceinte, and Mr. Antipyrine, each reciting his own introductory monologue. The four, plus Pipi, exchange ripostes, which on paper resemble dialogue, yet are incomprehensible both in themselves and in their relationships one to another. The play's opening lines seem to indicate activity such as might be given in a stage direction: "pénètre le desert,/creuse en hurlant le chemin dans le sable gluant,/écoute la vibration…” In looking at the text that follows, however, it is difficult to propose (or forbid) any activities whatever that might have been associated with the text, or to justify in any way the dividing of the play into analyzable segments. What strikes the reader instead are a few "numbers" or "acts" within the piece. There are two simultaneous poems bringing together first one and then another combination of the five characters met thus far and then introducing the sixth, Le Directeur, who says two of the play's more coherent lines: "il est mort," and then "puis ils chantèrent." The latter is followed by a "song" in the form of the second simultaneous poem. Outstanding as well is Tzara's long monologue. Suddenly in the midst of all the confusion comes a manifesto, clearly didactic and quite comprehensible. The show stops for a moment and its chief barker permits himself a few choice words that, if there were any doubts, make clear the Dadaists' purposeful violation of the audience: "C'est tout de même de la merde, mais nous voulons dorénavant chier en couleurs diverses, pour orner le jardin zoologique de l'art de tous les drapeaux des consulats" ("It's shit after all, but we intend henceforth to shit in various colors, to decorate the zoo or art with the flags of all the consulates"). The insertion of the monologue seems to suggest that Tzara was taking no chances. If, for some reason, the audience "took to" the phonetic gibberish of the play, or merely laughed, Tzara had provided himself with an infallible instrument of attack in the form of the manifesto. Not many Frenchmen could avoid being offended by the short rhyming lines: "psychologie psychologie hi hi/Science Science Science/vive la France" (especially in the light of all that came before), and to top it all off, Tzara ended with kisses to the audience, "bons auditeurs, je vous aime tant, je vous aime tant, je vous assure, et je vous adore" ("good listeners, I love you so, I love you so, I do assure you and I do adore you"). Two long monologues bring the play to its concluding line, "puis ils s'en allèrent," which is truly an exit line.


All told, there is little to hold on to. What seems to move the play more than the energy of a comprehensible activity is the acoustical energy, the thrust of the music of the lines, which, in performance, was augmented by the shape of the audience's response. Nothing is known of the Zurich performance. We can put together some details of the Paris première three and a half years later. As Tzara participated in both productions, it is possible that elements of the first carried over into the second. More likely, though, with the passage of time, within the new Paris-Dadaist framework, and with new collaborating artists (it was Francis Picabia who designed the Paris costumes and sets, not Marcel Janco), the performance in no way resembled the first. The scenic details of this second production, however, may serve to hint at a conception of staging that is recognizable as not so different from the Zurich-Dadaist performances. For the occasion Tzara had invented "a diabolical machine composed of a Klaxon and three successive invisible echoes, for the purpose of impressing on the mind of the audience certain phrases describing the aims of Dada." The sets and costumes (the characters enclosed in huge, variously colored paper sacks, each with his name written on a large placard and hung around his neck) were described by the critic of Commoedia as: "étonnants, imprévus, ridicules" ("shocking, unexpected, ridiculous"). He continued: Ils évoquent nettement les dessins imaginés par les foux et correspondent parfaitement au texte inconcevable de M. Tristan Tzara… Le décor, placé en avant des interprètes et non en arrière, le décor transparent, composé d'une roue de bicyclette, de quelques cordes tendues à travers la scène et de cadres contenant des inscriptionsh ermétiques( "La paralysiee st le commencemendt e la sagesse,""V ous tendezl esb ras,v osa misv ousl es couperont") complétait parfaitementl 'ensemble. (They clearly evoked esignsim gained by fools and correspond perfectly with the inconceivable text of M. Tristan Tzara... The decor, placed in front of the interpreters and not behind the transparent décor, composed of a bicycle, of some cords extended through the scene, and of frames containing hermetical inscriptions ["Paralysis is the beginning of wisdom," "You extend your arms, your friends will cut them"] completing perfectly the ensemble.) Tzara's own recollections of the play's performance and the audience's reaction are quite clear. "This play is a boxing match with words. The characters, confined in sacks and trunks, recite their parts without moving, and one can easily imagine the effect this produced— performed in a greenish light—on the already excited public. It was impossible to hear a single word of the play." By the summer of 1916 both internal and external pressures determined the closing of the Cabaret Voltaire six months after it had opened. Herr Ephraim, the proprietor, fed up with public complaints at the nightly excesses committed on his premises, announced that the Dadaists would have to seek a new home. Tensions between Tzara and Ball had also reached a crisis that made it desirable for the group to split up for a while. The split, however, was short-lived, and in March 1917 the two men again joined together to open the Galerie Dada. This "one last try" lasted four months, and by June 1917 the Galerie Dada went on "unlimited vacation." Ball was spent and tormented. He did not want to leave the gallerv. but his views and Tzara's on the development of Dada theatrics became more and more at odds. Tzara was rapidly moving away from all modern art toward a path of pure provocation, a "new transmutation that signifies nothing, and was the most formidable blasphemy mass combat speed prayer tranquility private guerrilla negation and chocolate of the desperate." For Ball, who finally declared, "I have examined myself carefully and I could never bid chaos welcome," the split with Tzara was final. Ball left Zurich for good at the end of June 1917, while Tzara in a euphoric mood at his new 36

emergent leadership wrote in his diary, "Mysterious creation! magic revolver The DADA MOVEMENT is launched." Yet Tzara's "victory" was a slightly tarnished one. One interesting proof of Dada's fundamentally theatrical base was its need for constantly virginal audiences. The years in Zurich had virtually used up such a public. The group too had fed on itself for too long. Dada moved on and, in 192O,Tzara packed his bags for Paris. *Unless otherwise indicated, quotations are from the following sources, Robert Motherwell, ed., The Dada Poets and Painters (New York: Wittenborn, Schultz, 1951); Georges Hugnet, L’Aventure Dada 1916-1922 (Paris, 1971); Hans Richter, Dada: Art and Anti-Art (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965); Marcel Jean, The History of Surrealist Painting (New York: Grove Press, 1960); Edmund Wilson, Axel’s Castle (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1931); and Michel Sanouillet, Dada à Paris (Paris 1965). 1 Little is known of the Dada work with puppets. Hugnet mentions “…couplets satyriques de Ball contre-l’impérialisme allemande et ses ‘Krippen Spiele’ (jeux de crèche), figures par les poupées de Emmy Hennings…” (“Balls satirical couplets against German imperialism and his ‘Krippen Spiele’ [manger play], presented by the puppets of Emmy Hennings”). Hans Richter recalls “the puppets Arp and Täuber made were the first abstract puppets ever used at puppet shows…They moved with a grace not of this earth and would have outcircused even Calder’s circus in their purity.” 2 The term is Grotowski’s, but it refers not only to the type of work done in his Polish Lab Theatre, but also to the work of such groups as Joseph Chaiken’s Open Theatre, the Becks’ Living Theatre, and Richard Schechner’s Performance Group. 3 William G. Seitz, The Art of Assemblage (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1961), p. 37. 4 Hans Arp, On My Way: Poetry and Essays, 1912-1947, ed. Robert Motherwell (New York: Wittenborn, Schultz, 1948), p. 52. 5 The creative approach of the “chance” factor is by no means an invention of contemporary artists. Pliny the Elder tells that Protogenes of Rhodes, upset at his attempts to draw the lather around a horse’s mouth, hurled a sponge at the picture. “The sponge deposited the colours with which it was charged in the very manner which he had sought in vain, and thus chance constructed nature in a painting.” 6 Jacques Rivière, “Reconnaissance à Dada,” Nouvelle Revue Française (August 1920).


KEN FRIEDMAN Fluxus Performance According to Ken Friedman, defining Fluxus has always been problematic, but through a brief introduction of its origins and descriptions of performable pieces by a number of artists, he conveys much of the spirit, humor, and diversity of Fluxus performance. He writes: “Fluxus began… primarily as a publishing and performance program” conceived by several artists, many of whom “had studied with John Cage.” Citing the publication of An Anthology, which he calls “the early major anthology of performance art, Conceptual art, Minimal art, event structures, and related forms,” he identifies in Fluxus elements of Zen, vaudeville, and ritual. Friedman goes on to describe performances by George Brecht, Robert Watts, Alison Knowles, Nam June Paik, Dick Higgins, and Milan Knizack, as well as some of his own. Ken Friedman leads two lives: as a Fluxus artist he is exhibited around the world and is collected by institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum and the Kunstmuseum, Basel; as Kenneth S. Friedman he is editor of The Art Economist. An expert on the sociology and economics of art, Dr. Friedman is a consultant to corporations and publishing houses. I—What Is (or Was) Fluxus? Fluxus germinated in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a group of artists, composers, and performers who came together to present innovative works and projects that had no home in the art world of their time. No one has ever succeeded in defining Fluxus to the satisfaction of its many members and participants. The group has been characterized at various times as a movement, a cooperative, a school, and a philosophy. The real structure of Fluxus lies somewhere among these. The success (and the occasional failure) of Fluxus consisted in its remaining flexible and open to new growth, to an opportune revision of experience. Flums was as experimental in practice as it was in philosophy. There is no consensus among Fluxus members whether or not Fluxus still exists; whether a Fluxus participant creates one set of works that is "Fluxus" and another that is private; or whether Fluxus is defined by its participants, all of whose work must therefore be considered "Fluxus work." Fluxus is remarkably hardy. Fluxus artist and videoteur Nam June Paik (who began as a composer) says that "Fluxus is like a Korean plant: when it looks dead, it's about to blossom." The territory covered by Fluxus has been so large and varied that any description of Fluxus can be somewhat confusing. One can begin just about anywhere in explaining just what Fluxus is, or was. A few things are clear. Fluxus began loosely, primarily as a publishing and performance program conceptualized by several artists. A common bond among some of them was the fact that they had studied with John Cage in his famous courses at the New School for Social Research in New York. Others were more generally influenced by Cage and his Zen-inflected philosophy. One artist, architect, and architectural historian, George Maciunas, seemed to take on a role as provisional chairman to the Fluxus "posse comitatus," if only by virtue of the fact that he was willing to manage organizational 38

matters. Maciunas, passionately energetic and madly methodical, proceeded to contact nearly every kindred spirit in the worlds of art, music, theatre, dance, and poetry. He invited them to participate in a rigorously structured series of programs, concerts, and publications envisioned under the rubric "Fluxus." Some participants stuck. Some came unglued while remaining friendly colleagues—or distant colleagues—depending on who might at any moment have been feuding with whom. One landmark venture was the early major anthology of performance art, Conceptual art, Minimal art, event structures, and related forms published by Jackson Maclow and La Monte Young, designed by Maciunas, titled simply An Anthology. Originally prepared for publication in 1961, it was released in 1963. Since then, it has been reprinted widely both in pirate editions (distributed at no cost to interested artists around the world, nearly 1,000 copies sent out in all) and in authorized reprints, such as that issued by Heiner Friedrich in 1968. An Anthology has long since become one of the classic texts of art-making, not only for the artists on whom it exercised direct influence but also indirectly for the artists whose thinking was shaped in the era of the late 1960s and 1970s. The roster of participants in Fluxus took its basic shape by the year 1964 or so and continued to expand through late 1966. Harald Szeemann and Hanns Sohm prepared a fairly definitive list of the first generation of Fluxus artists for the catalogue to the major 1970 exhibition "Fluxus & Happenings" at the Kolnischer Kunstverein in Cologne, Germany. The artists included were: Eric Andersen, Ay-O, Joseph Beuys, George Brecht, Henning Christiansen, Phil Corner, Robert Filliou, Henry Flynt, Ken Friedman, Bici Forbes Hendricks, Geoff Hendricks, Dick Higgins, Hi Red Center, Joe Jones, Per Kirkeby, Bengt af Klintberg, Milan Knizak, Alison Knowles, Addi Koepcke, Takehisa Kosugi, George Maciunas, Yoko Ono, Robin Page, Nam June Paik, Benjamin Patterson, Tomas Schmit, Carolee Schneemann, Mieko Shiomi, Daniel Spoerri, Ben Vautier, Wolf Vostell, Bob Watts, Emmett Williams, La Monte Young, and Zaj. By 1982, the twentieth anniversary of the first widely publicized Fluxus concerts (1972 had earlier been declared the "Tenth Anniversary" to coincide with the Fluxus exhibition year in England), a number of major exhibitions had taken place including significant artists who had not been shown extensively in Cologne. The well-known Silverman Collection, one of America's largest collections of Fluxus objects and artifacts, was seen at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and at the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, New York. Retrospective Fluxus exhibitions were presented at Wuppertal and Wiesbaden in Germany. Other major shows were staged elsewhere in the years previous. Artists included in these exhibitions who were not given solo rooms or major participation in Cologne included: Albrecht D., John Armleder, Jeff Berner, Peter van Beveren, Don Boyd, Robert Bozzi, Giuseppe Chiari, Willem de Ridder, Jean Dupuy, Felipe Ehrenberg, Rimma and Valery Gerlovin, Davi det Hompson, Alice Hutchins, Vytautas Landsbergis, John Lennon, Frederic Liebermann, Carla Liss, Joan Mathews, David Mayor, Tommy Mew, Larry Miller, Kate Millett, peter Moore, Charlotte Moorman, Olivier Mosset, Maurizio Nannucci, Serge Oldenburg, Jock Reynold, James Riddle, Peter van Riper, Takako Saito, Wlm. T. Schippers, Greg Sharits, Paul Sharits, Al Souza, Tamas Szentjauby, Yasunao Tone, Endre Tot, Brank Vucicevic, and Yoshimasa Wada. Most of these individuals are considered by many commentators to be key members of Fluxus in one of several regards. Although the lists vary and although many member—participants have come and gone around the core defined at Cologne, the constellation of individuals and their interaction remains as fascinating as it was and ambiguous in equal measure. At only two or three times has Fluxus been "organized', in any usual sense. The first instance was in the formative stage, when Maciunas had prepared lists of national committees, chairs, 39

editors, and directors, most of whom never actively fulfilled their assigned roles. The second was in a brief, lucid period of heavy publishing and concert making between about 1964 and 1967, managed through an organizational structure defined by Maciunas in 1966 (and commemorated on organizational stationery that he published) listing Per Kirkeby, Ben Vautier, Milan Knizak, Ken Friedman, and George himself as the five "directors" of Fluxus, such as it was. The final moment of clearly structured activity came in the early 1970s, when Fluxus West in England presented the Fluxus Year and Fluxshoe under the leadership of David Mayor and Michael Weaver, sponsored by the University of Exeter and its American Arts Documentation Centre. No one really knows who invented the name Fluxus. It has been defined in many ways, relating to "states of flux," "confusion," "a bloody evacuation of the bowels," "spatial and temporal instability," and many more. Scholars offer differing theories. It is significant to the nature and identity of Fluxus that there has never been a precise recorded definition of the name, a fact that accounts in part for its generative and regenerative strength. ll—Fluxus Performonce Fluxus attitudes toward performance have been as varied and individual as the artistparticipants themselves. There are leanings toward Zen in austere and often ritual works by George Brecht, Bob Watts, Mieko Shiomi, Alison Knowles, Shigeko Kubota, and others. Much of the Fluxus performance work has been made available in boxes of collated scores and event notations. the best known of these being the George Brecht box Water Yam, published in 1963. Similar collections of work by Bob Watts, Mieko Shiomi, Takehisa Kosugi and Ben Vautier were published. Boxes of events were planned for Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, Ken Friedman, George Maciunas, and others. Most of the event works of these artists were eventually produced by publishers other than Fluxus. Maciunas's own events and scores paradoxically remain unpublished, appearing for the most part as occasional single works. A look at a few scores will illustrate the "Fluxus Zen" attitude. For example, Brecht's Word Event (1961) simply reads "Exit." There is a variation that states, "Audience is instructed to leave theatre." It is clear that the piece can be performed theatrically, as a visual event in a gallery context, or as a private ritual. Some events take on further potential, such as Brecht's Three Aqueous Events (also 1961): "Ice. Water. Steam." This piece not oniy permits performance as theatre but can easily be extended to film, radio, or even television. In the context of extended performance structures Three Aqueous Events can be understood as a description of physical processes taking place in real time on a daily, global basis. Brecht's continual revision of the boundaries between performance and life typifies Fluxus Zen. Robert Watts's work tends to be more pointedly performable. Some of the performances seem private in nature, even though intended for public space. Casual Event (f962) is one such work: "Performer drives car to filling station to inflate right front tire. He continues to inflate tire until tire blows out. He changes tire and drives home. If car is newer model, he drives home on blown out tire." Some Watts events, despite their ephemeral, private sensibility, become manifestly public in their acknowledgment of the audience. One such event is Two lnches (also 1962): "Two inch ribbon is stretched across stage or street, then cut." Some of the works are designed for sculptural installation, even for a specific space, as was Event for Guggenheim (1963): "A very heavy pendulum, suspended by steel wire from a high dome, is permitted to swing over a concave layer of fine sand on the floor, inscribing thus rotation of swing according to rotation of the earth." 40

Watts, like Brecht, has had a strong though varied career as a visual artist, showing at such galleries as Leo Castelli in the early 1960s. Watts was considered, at different periods, both a Pop artist and a Minimalist. The variety of his performance pieces underscores the complex nature of his oeuvre. As Zen-like as these works are, the Oriental quality of Fluxus becomes most pronounced in the work of the Japanese Fluxus artists. Mieko Shiomi's Fluxversion of Event for the Late Aftemoon (1963) is exemplary: "Violin is suspended with rope or ribbon inserted through pulley at top and secured to floor. Performer in samurai armor positions himself under suspended violin, draws his sword and cuts the rope in front of him, releasing the violin, which falls onto his helmeted head." Similarly oriented toward samurai culture is Ay-O's wellknown mid-1960s Paper Event, once performed at Carnegie Recital Hall. In this piece, a frame of crossed wooden strips in a latticelike arrangement is built on stage. Various objects are attached to the frame at different points, including, but not limited to, wood, metal, musical sounding blocks, glass sheets, and more. A paper screen is stretched across the stage. The performer must be a skilled archer. The archer is broueht into the theatre never having seen the positioning of the objects. Standing at the back of the theatre, the performer shoots arrows through the paper screen, where arrows hit or miss objects at random. The sounding aspect of the concert takes place when the arrows strike the objects attached to the frame. Austere, ritual, but warm in its overtones. the work of Alison Knowles includes pieces that are subtle but dazzling in their witty charm. Her Shuffle (1961), for example, is an early postmodern soft-shoe first performed in 1963 at the National Association of Chemists and Perfumers convention in New York: "The performer or performers shuffie into the performance area and away from it, above, behind, around or through the audience. They perform as a group or solo, but quietly." Her performances are often food for more than thought, as was Proposition (1962) at London's Institute for Contemporary Art: "Make a salad." During an active career of performance work now spanning over a quarter of a century, Knowles has moved more and more toward the silent, the liminal, and the meditative, frequently engaging viewers in meditation through group activity and quiet communal eating. If the "sane Zen" of Japanese Fluxus artists and Alison Knowles represents one pole of the Orient, Nam June Paik's "crazy Zen" represents the other. Long acclaimed as the George Washington of video art, he has had an active career moving from music to robotics to cybernetics and electronic media. Paik has been keenly prophetic of a future he himself has helped to shape. His predictions have come true in some cases earlier than even he expected. For example, Paik's Utopian Laser TV Station (1965) first became visible in the 1970s through cable and direct satellite rather than in the mid-1990s as he had originally suggested. (On the lighter side, his Young Penis Sinfonie, a robust piece of erotic pseudomusic, was premiered in 1975 rather than in 1984 as anticipated.) Paik's video tapes include the world-famous Clobal Groooe (1973) and his recent Guadalcanal Requiem (1976). He has a talent for conducting himself with highly personal directness while presenting his ideas with engaging charm and lucidity. As a result, he can work well with an extraordinary range of people, from officers of the Rockefeller Foundation and Sony to artists such as Ray Johnson and Kit Fitzgerald. Paik’s performances are interactive. He often engages the audience, as in his famous tiecutting incident in homage to John Cage (and to John Cage’s tie). His work—and statements— often comment directly on the Zeitgeist, on the moment in culture and on the moment in his 41

life. His Tribute to Andy Mannik at The Kitchen (1981) in New York focused on a telephone call to Woody and Steina Vasulka, and on Paik’s lifelong ambition to “play bad piano” in a honky-tonk strip joint. The piece was not simply a Paik invention, however, but a sensitive collaboration with Andy Mannik (whose Tribute to Nam June Paik took place on the same program) and with dancer Denise Gordon. Paik’s work involves the collaborative sensibility of the Fluxus spirit, his frequent and best known collaboration being that with cellist Charlotte Moorman (also a longtime Fluxus “fellow-traveler”). If Paik represents a free-associating Eastern sensibility, the prolific Dick Higgins holds a comparable position with a Western approach. Higgins's work is protean, a series of experiments first outlined in his projects of the 1960s. Highly musical in source, Higgins's Constellations for Theater presents typical performance possibilities, in which different numbers of performers and instruments create sound according to varying structures. Two of the works give an idea: vii—New Constellations (Constellation #7). Any number of performers agree on a sound, preferably vocal, which they will produce. When they are ready to begin to perform, they all produce the sound simultaneously, rapidly and efficiently, so that the composition lasts as short a time as possible. (Boulder, Colorado, October 1960) viii—(from) Two Contributions I (Contribution #I). The performers elect a leader. Each performer selects a sound to produce which in some way contributes to the environment of the performance, but which neither opposes nor is directly derived from it. At a signal from the leader each performer produces his sound as efficiently as possible. When each performer has produced his sound the piece is over. (1959-1961) Higgins presents the musicality inherent in Fluxus, as well as the temperance inherent in the ability to appreciate nonsound, which can be traced back to John Cage. This sense of silence is particularly evident in x—A Winter Carol (Contribution #6). Any number of people may perform this composition. They do so by agreeing in advance on a duration for the composition, then by going out to listen in the falling snow. (1961) Czech Fluxus artist Milan Knizak may be closest to Higgins as a creator of performances. Both in his variety, his fluency, and his ability to transcend media (participating with equal vigor in events, music, visual art, and—as an acknowledged co-founder—Happenings, all roles he shares with Higgins), Knizak has been one of Eastern Europe's major international influences, ranking with such figures as Jiri Kolar. Knizak has influenced younger generations of Eastern European artists including J. H. Kocman, Jiri Valoch (Czechoslovakia), Endre Tot, Tamas Szentjauby (Hungary), Janusz Haka, and Jaroslaw Kozlowsky (Poland). Knizak's influence, however, extended far beyond the boundaries of the Eastern European art community. He was discussed extensively in Assemblage, Environments and Happenings, Allan Kaprow's seminal book on Happenings and performance art forms, as one of the key figures in the development of the field. Since 1966, when the book appeared, Knizak's influence and reputation have waxed and waned by turns, his status often has been determined by the seclusion into which he has occasionally been forced because of his political and artistic beliefs. Knizak is much represented and loved by those who appreciate his robust events, pieces in which a zany spiritual emphasis on what might be called Euro-Zen combines with a Rabelaisian delight in the pleasures of the flesh. 42

Three of Knizak's Confrontation Events of 1964 and 1965 summarize his style. Confrontation No. 1. Each participant wearing a paper cap tries to knock off with wood or toy sword the cap of another while defending himself with own sword against the same attempts of opponents. Confrontation No. 2. Take a train ride without buying a ticket. Confrontation No. 3. Keep silent all day long. Knizak's American stay in the late 1960s brought his ideas andhighly physical mode of presentation to North American audiences. His trips to California were spectacular for those who were present at the confrontations surrounding his Way of Fire; the evening of silent meditation at de Benneville Pines, the Unitarian Universalist conference center in the mountains outside Los Angeles that later hosted several series of avant-garde and contemporary art and music conferences and exhibitions; the morning snow walk following his nightlong meditation in the mountains; and, most memorable, in the spring 1969 series of actions, Knizak's successful attempt to drink a roomful of Los Angeles hipsters under the table in a nightlong round of festivities that grew to Hemingwayan proportions as artists and musicians followed one another asainst Knizak in a dramatic drinking context. Joseph Beuys is tough and gritty enough to rival Knizak, but oriented in a very different direction. Beuys's work is well enough known that it does not require description or illustration. The sensibility that he espousess tandsa s artistic parent to much work in the areas of Arte Povera, process, and performance art. It is as profoundly humanitarian and spiritual as Knizak's. In style and tone Beuys is somber, yet charismatic in his rich sobriety. His work can be warm, but it stands in definite contrast to the passionately exuberant actions of Knizak. Were one to define a triad among three clearly spiritual Fluxus artists, Beuys, Paik, and Knizak, one could say that Paik and Beuys share the ethereal yet earthy qualities of Zen-oriented Fluxus, Paik and Knizak share the Rabelaisian, and Knizak and Beuys share the gutsy, Pan-Eurasian folk culture with its magical and often mythical ethos. Much Fluxus work is vaudevillian, particularly in artists such as Ben Vautier and George Maciunas. Maciunas's hundreds of jokelike projects ranged from training a dog to answer commands by undertaking the direct opposite action of the words spoken to the famous "Door of Knives" that effectively disinvited all but the most stalwart visitor to his "basement loft" in SoHo. He was the Spike Jones of contemporary art. (Curiously, Maciunas's favorite composers were Spike Jones and Claudio Monteverdi.) Vautier, brash, ribald, and egocentric, goes beyond Spike Jones in his energetic zest and in his blunt execution of Fluxus projects. Other artists love him and hate him by turns. For over two and a half decades, he has created art and blasphemed against art from his center in Nice, France. It may be worth nothing that Mario Diacono, the Italian critic and art historian, believes that Vautier—who prefers to call himself Ben—was an influence on such major figures as Piero Manzoni and Yves Klein. lll—A Personal Account My friend and colleague Peter Frank noted in an essay on my work that 43

The humanistic grounding to the proposal piece genre is more apparent in the work of certain proposers than in the work of others. It is safe to say, however, that no proposer seeks to make that grounding more overtly manifest than does Friedman. As other commentators have observed, Friedman's proposals seem often to engage individuals in interfunctions with other individuals—and those that engage individuals instead with objects do so in search not so much of the graceful formal gesture as of contemplative unity with the world. (Ken Friedman: Events [New York: Institute for Art and Urban Resources, 1980]) I enjoy interaction with others and with their work. This has been the focus of my named pieces and homages. One example is Homage to Christo (1968): "something is unwrapped." It was first performed at St. John's College, Santa Fe, New Mexico, during a conference. The opportunity later came to unwrap Christo's own Wrapped Auditorium during a 1981 exhibition at P.S. 1 in New York, when his show—and my show—both ended there on the same day. Contemplation and unity take many forms. Fluxus events create a theatre of the object: objects take on a characteristic life, drawing performer and audience into the world. The many versions of Fruit in Three Acts (1963-1967) explore this process: Fruit in Three Acts. Act l: Peach. Act 2: Watermelon. Act 3: Pear. My events emerge from the process of reflection and involvement with others and with the world. I came to join Fluxus not because I had intended to become an artist (I hadn't), but because some of the artists in Fluxus saw in what I was doing a sensibility akin to their own. What I had been doing up to that time were "events," that is, physical events or actions in time and space. I had not done them as an artist, which I was yet to become, but as a response to ideas and situations. The ability to respond to artistic reason (and unreason) makes us and our art what we are. A decade of "events" emerging from my life activity preceded my participation in Fluxus, starting when I was quite young. The earliest of them speaks, in a way, for the sensibility which appears in all of them. Scrub Piece. One the first day of Spring, go unannounced to a public monument. Clean it thoroughly. (First performed at the Nathan Hale Monument, New London, Connecticut, spring 1956.) lV—A Provisional Conclusion Fluxus has managed to succeed, to survive, and to influence others because of its light touch, its responsiveness and its sense of scale. Time and change are basic to Fluxus, giving it liveliness and durability. That—and a profound sense of adventure—may account for a phenomenon which has grown and changed through over two decades in an art world which usually measures time in months and seasonsonly rarely in years. Response is the heart of the matter. ROSELEE GOLDBERG The Golden Years


In the following essay, RoseLee Goldberg looks back on the 1970s as the “Golden Years of Performance,” as “a period when the medium grew from an array of eccentric gestures… aimed at unsettling the art establishment to a fully accepted art form.” Her overview spans the years 1968 to the present, from a New York perspective, and identifies initial attitudes, the courses they took, and where performance is now. She does not, however, attempt to cover every aspect of performance in the 1970s or the work of every artist, but to introduce and discuss this recent period of performance art and some of its practitioners. In the course of her survey, Goldberg cites artists such as Laurie Anderson, Eric Bogosian, and Robert Longo, and dancers such as Karole Armitage and Molissa Fenley, whose work in the latter half of the decade contributed to performance’s increasing popularity and access to popular culture and its ability to convey the energy and intensity of the time. Concluding with some thoughts on the “return to painting” and performance art’s loss of “fashionable status,” she claims that there is a built-in cyclical aspect to performance history. Throughout the twentieth century it has come and gone in waves, appearing as an irritant and a catalyst when any one prevailing style or art form becomes entrenched,” and she predicts that “performance will again rear its head and provide the shake-up that it customarily does.” RoseLee Goldberg is author of Performance: Live Art from 1909 to the Present (1979) and has been actively involved in performance art in the United States and England. The 1970s may well be looked on in time to come as the Golden Years of Performance. It was a period when the medium grew from an array of eccentric gestures—variously called body art or living art or art aktuell—aimed at unsettling the art establishment to a fully accepted art form with its own written history, magazines, and critics. Performance feat ured as a large part of the oeuvre of many artists and correspondingly became the focus of numerous festivals and conferences. From street performances and private studio events witnessed only by peers of the artists to art spaces specifically dedicated to showcasing the medium, performance gradually became a highly popular and even fashionable genre. Most important, it also became a major influence on 1970s art in general. It has covered an area so broad and varied that it provides a fascinating yardstick to changing sensibilities and attitudes in the 1970s, attitudes that ran the gamut from strictly noncommercial, even alienating, activities to work that made decisive inroads into the popular media and clubs, venturing into far larger establishments than the art world's, such as the record or video industries. Or such has been the case in New York City, the principal subject of this study. Such scrutiny of recent history becomes possible right now, in 1982, as performance takes a more steady course, relinquishing its fashionable status to a renewed interest in painting. Performance is not the hot item that it was in the late 1970s, mainly because its very high points have provided the route into the present media-oriented aesthetic that dominates the new generation of artists making paintings, drawings, or photographs. These artists have, as it were, graduated from the performance context that was the setting for their formative years, when it was simply uninteresting to paint, and even more uninteresting to associate with painters. However, this is not to say that performance will be dormant. On the contrary, the 1970s produced artists who worked almost exclusively in the medium. It has produced a network of established venues, subsidized (until recently) by federal grants and attended by a regular audience. These venues have in turn become the generating force behind the medium; they guarantee that performance will continue to be produced, albeit to fit the particular scheme of the venue and the interests of its audience. This plateau of stability marks a particularly interesting moment in performance history; it points to the fact that a major performance period has reached full circle, the circle here being 45

somewhat schematically that which began in the late 1960s with performance as an irritant, a provocative weapon used to unseat a complacent public and its view of the value of art, to the present time when it has become an established and acceptable medium in its own right. From body art, which was a means to break the impasse reached by Minimal art and its overwhelming "objecthood," through the early 1970s when performance became an important means to illustrate the cerebral and oftentimes ironic gestures of Conceptual art. A turning point came around 1976, by which time the first generation of this "performance cycle"—Vito Acconci, Dennis Oppenheim, and Bruce Nauman, to name only a few of the artists— had ceased performing, only to create environments that suggested their presence, surrogate "performances" that included recorded voices or puppets or video as devices to "activate" a space and so interact with the viewer. At this point a second generation overlapped the first, an unusual phenomenon within such a short time span. This second generation—Laurie Anderson, Julia Heyward, Michael Smith, Martha Wilson, Adrian Piper, Michael McClard, Robert Longo, among many others—were in turn the students of the Conceptual artists, a sophisticated and articulate group who were not so much concerned with dismantling the previous generation's attitudes, as with absorbing and embellishing them. While taking for granted a certain intellectual rigorousness they dared to add the ingredient of pleasure that strict Conceptual art had denied. Just as their mentors indulged in personal histories, sentimentality, and "everyday life" so did the younger generation of performers. But unlike the older generation they added narrative and sequential presentations that separated them from the somber and cerebral, erudite demonstrations of the Conceptualists. As a result, these performances began to resemble more traditional performance modes—be it variety theatre, cabaret, or stand-up comedy—and marked a shift to "performance as performance," rather than "performance as documentation," which had largely been the case with the earlier works. This more recognizable format pointed, in addition, to a different relationship with the audience, one that actually verged on audience gratification—on entertainment—rather than the intentionally oblique and disturbing actions of an Acconci or an Oppenheim. This new generation took the conceptual premises for granted, extending them at the same time, but the unavoidable "generation gap" accounted for further differences. The former were the political activists of the 1960s, the generation that escaped the American 1950s. The latter were the first television generation, albeit the not so naïve witnesses to 1960s protest. So whereas the Conceptual artists could be said to have been searching for an existential essence through their work, the "media artists" received it all as so much recycled imagery—the post-Warhol children, the children of distance and dissimulation. The work of these artists, still in their twenties, tested the double edges of fine art and popular entertainment, autobiography and fantasy, art and illusion—issues that orthodox Conceptualism bypassed in favor of philosophical rhetoric—and in so doing relaxed a mood and attracted larger audiences to work that was far easier to comprehend. Theoretical propositions were dropped in favor of recomposing media ingredients to satisfy the cultural diet of these 1950s babies. At the same time punk music filtered in from England, appearing in New York clubs in far more sophisticated form, given that it was young educated artists—with their special privileges, as opposed to the genuinely hurting and deprived working class of Britain—who assimilated its liberating efiects, attracting the art crowd to CBGB's or The Mudd Club, The Ocean Clubor Hurrah's, to watch this rock-and-roll renaissance. By 1978/79, the high period for New York's new wave clubs, performance crossed easily from the art world and venues such as The Kitchen Center and Franklin Furnace or Artists' Space to rock clubs and back again. The groups that played both sides—The Erasers, DNA, Theoretical Girls, and many others—were made up of artists who could not bear to be walled into the somewhat precious world of art, yet who wanted to find the means to include their own rock-androll backgrounds, their own new wave culture in their art, without relinquishing their desires to 46

be part of both worlds. This was the time that performance could be tested in the "real world" with a more general public as had historically been its intention. To graduate from the art world into real life into television or into video discs, into feeding the industries that in turn feed the art and allow artists to live on revenue from their own work had been the goal of many young artists now performing in the early 1980s. Questions have been raised about the feasibility of playing both sides, about what compromises must be made to "sell out" in terms of audience before selling out in terms of content and artistic integrity. Needless to say, the two factions, popular and high art, had been eyeing one another across a fragile divide for some time, with a fairly simple rationale to justify the merger: something so omnipresent as the media must be utilized and adapted, infiltrated and altered, for to avoid it was tantamount to living in the past, in a sentimental land of pastures and idyllic picnics along quietly flowing streams. Even so, there would be those few who could actually make the crossover. How different the situation is now from then, the late 1960s, how different now to read an article on Vito Acconci from 1973 that queries how such "body art" can be sold, when today the new young painters have waiting lists for their works, which daily are endorsed by critics quoting the latest prices like the call of a bullish stock market. How different now the role of the artist and critic, now from then in the late 1960s, when many artists, responding to the barricades in Paris streets and the protests on American campuses, metaphorically erected their own barricades, calling for an art of ideas and an art that would short-circuit the consumer market, an art that would find for itself a philosophical base, almost a moral code for existing, and an art that spoke for itself—through the intelligence of the artists themselves—not through the mouthpieces of critics. Such were the opening years of the 1970s, truly begun in 1968, a preface as it were to the new morality. The gesture, the event, was what characterized the one-off performances that were often as brutish and painful as the protests taking place across the country. Vito Acconci's work of this time captured that sensibility: Claim (1971) had him in a basement, wielding a lethal iron pole, blindfolded, and beating at the air; Follwing Piece (1969) had him trailing a randomly selected person in the street, taking in the person's route and activities, ending up on one occasion in a movie house; and, Conversions (1970) had him burning the hairs off his chest and hiding his penis between his legs in a futile attempt to understand himself without these masculine characteristics. Each experiment absorbed him and the audience in a self-analysis of difficult proportions, an analysis that he equated in retrospect to being "like a child… a kind of child growing up." First the realization of existence, simply "being in the world"; hence the simple illustrative experiments with presence such as those described above. Then the realization of there "being another person"—an "other"—illustrated by works such as Seedbed (1972), with Acconci masturbating under a ramp in a gallery, acting out his fantasies to the beat of anonymous footsteps; to the power of "things" as in Remote Control (1974), a play between male and female on video monitors, in which the action is ordered and acted out over screens; to withdrawing from performance altogether in Command Performance (1974), a video installation that was the grand finale to this early repertoire. Such demonstrations were part of a generally didactic and investigatory mood, one that sought to explore the notions of "being an artist" as well as the motives and emotions for "making art." This attitude opened the doors to any kind of experimentation, providing an open charter in terms of method or materials. It led to works such as Reading Position for a Second-Degree Burn (1970) that Dennis Oppenheim undertook at Long Beach, California. Comprising the simple act of lying in the sun for a three-hour period, with an appropriately titled book on his chest, Oppenheim "painted" his body with sunburn, the section where the book was placed retaining 47

the pink skin tones of an academic. Another such "sensation-oriented" work was Lead Sink for Sebastian (1970), in which the "act of sculpting" was felt by Sebastian, a one-legged man whose especially designed iron leg was melted down by Oppenheim. Bruce Nauman made performances in which he measured out the edges of a square or curled into the corners of a room, each time delineating the spatial properties of place that a sculptor might consider, while Klaus Rinke and Monika Baumgartl made more formalistic demonstrations of similar considerations, producing emblematic images of contemporary male/female figures. The simplicity and purity of these actions were in direct response to the rigorous analysis that these artists were making of the art process, the mechanics of the art world, and the very existential base of being an artist. Such scrutiny did not allow for instant acceptance or easy readability, yet at the same time the work—being "live" and decidedly eccentric—had a small public following and some notoriety. Above all it raised questions, disturbed the critics and public alike, and allowed for few pat answers. It was intentionally "difficult" in that an underlying premise was to avoid the comfortability that painting or sculpture might induce. Moreover, its ephemerality, its very intangibility pointed always to a philosophy of art, a theoretical position visà-vis the culture, which in turn created a critique of criticism and a review of the traditional notion of the artist as a sensitive but inarticulate creature. At the same time those that chose to work in performance maintained a doggedly antimaterialist stance, suggesting that an art that could not be bought and sold would of necessity retain its original purity, that is, always be responsible for raising polemical questions. The resulting aesthetic was a particularly clean-cut one, pared of all "decoration," one that insisted that "the elegance of an idea" was more important than its execution. While posing critical problems about the success or failure of such intangible "beauty," the discourse that this provoked was considered to be preferable to comfortable "armchair art." Coinciding with this moral code was an even more angst-ridden position that was taken by a group of artists for whom such analysis resulted in extremely unsettling work. Demonstrating danger and pain, sacrifice and madness in their most realistic terms, each of these artists responded to very particular cultural triggers. In California, Chris Burden's dramatic stagings—as a student he squeezed himself into a school locker where he remained for five days, or, later, was crucified to a Volkswagen, or shot in the arm by a marksman—rebuked a society indifferent to violence and made catatonic by television and movie killings at all times of the day and night. In Paris, Gina Pane climbed ladders of broken glass or lay millimeters above burning candles, in painful experiments that seemed linked to an equally anesthetized society, recovering from the political upheaval of May 1968. In Austria, Hermann Nitsch promised to bring Western man closer to his primitive origins with orgies of cow's blood and entrails, processions and theatrical rituals that recalled a medieval passion play. The genuine lack of interest in producing art objects continued to provide a breeding ground for performance of all sorts. It would not be long before these same artists would have to submit to the reality of the art marketplace, but in the meantime a generally curious and amenable "scene" developed around these events. This in turn had a multiplying effect in that it encouraged artists from other disciplines to use the performance setting and existent audience for their own experimental work. Thus the relationship among dancers, artists, musicians, and poets in the early 1970s was a close one, sometimes involving direct collaboration, at others, complementary experiments because performance provided a permissive umbrella for renegades from the more conservative bastions of their chosen art. The Judson Church group for example saw young Merce Cunningham dancers breaking away from the master to form their own eccentric company in a 48

Washington Square church hall in New York City. There they developed a vocabulary of dance and composition that insisted on the audience examining the matter of dance—the body—and its everyday movements, uncluttered by formalist jetés or classically bowed arms. This same group, including Yvonne Rainer, Trisha Brown, Simone Forti, Steve Paxton, and Lucinda Childs, would branch out to create very different dancer personalities that echoed the conceptual work of the time. Patterns of movement, complex spatial tactics performed by dancers less concerned with turnout than with conceptual strategies, such ideas formed the basis for the new dance. Like the conceptual work that it paralleled, this dance was pared down to "pure ideas," freed of costume, lighting, or decoration of any kind, with even the traditional musical accompaniment being replaced by the sounds of feet stamping or hands clapping, the movement of clothes loosely draped across bodies. Lucinda Childs developed staccato movements that would transport the dancers from one point to the next, each move having been carefully marked off beforehand in the form of intricate notation. Trisha Brown, more playful and less purist in her approach, created early works with gravity-defying dancers moving across walls, tied to the ceiling with mountaineering equipment, or walking down the sheer face of buildings similarly suspended. Laura Dean's dancers spun, dervish fashion, in and out of predetermined patterns while Deborah Hay created participatory events in which the audience, like a gathering of flower chlldren, would become the performance through following a series of motions indicated by a leader. These events, which took place at the Judson Church or at 112 Greene Street or at the Mercer Arts Center (later The Kitchen Center)-alternative spaces that opened at the beginning of the 1970s—created a network of places that accumulated to make for an extraordinarily lively performance world. The issues at hand were numerous and each was explored in unexpected formats. The "live" work could have any dimension and any timing—from brief one-minute works to twenty-four-hour extravaganzas—and could take place on the street or in a building, in the newly opened warehouses of SoHo or in the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum. Its emphasis could be poetry, music, dance, or film. There were those less concerned with conceptual puritanism and philosophical signifiers who interpreted this open situation by turning to their bodies in stylish ways, painting and transforming them. Hence Gilbert and George, who added some much needed wit and romance to the aesthetic of the London group that emerged from St. Martin's School of Art in the late 1960s. Meticulously dressed as middle-class Englishmen in neat suits that would become their uniform in the following decade, the two dedicated their lives to Art and all its Perils. Precious as Wedgewood china, faces and hands painted gold, they presented their Singing Sculpture at New York's Sonnabend Gallery in 1972; a tape of Underneath the Arches played and replayed as Gilbert and George moved marionette fashion on top of a table. In a different vein Urs Luthi or Castelli, both in Switzerland and in very different ways, made tableaux of transvestite imagery, reflecting the fay glamour and chic rock-and-roll styling of the Stones or Roxy Music or Lou Reed. Costume and fabrication, the body as the best place to hang a work of art, took on yet other forms in the displays of artists such as Colette, whose tableaux found her sunk into folds of fabric, pastel colored from head to toe; while Pat Oleszko made costumes with multiple-choice arms or legs, as in her Coat of Anns (twenty-six narms); Hannah Wilke brought body art down to basics by appearing in various works bare breasted, usually accompanied by a particular subtitle that gave a double-edge meaning to her nudity. Dr. Brus or Mr. Peanut in Canada created performance persona that infiltrated the image banks of magazines, particularly that collected by File magazine, the stylish LIFE-like publication of General Idea in Toronto, whose efiective art direction spread the rumor of extraordinary performances, many of which took place largely within the pages of the magazine. 49

Even while new artists emerged on the performance scene at a steadily increasing rate, adding their own idiosyncratic gestures to the broad vocabulary of the genre, they had to reckon with the innovations of those who had for some time committed themselves to working "live." By 1975 Joan Jonas's body of performance work was extensive enough to provide its own mini history of the changing preoccupations of the 1970s. Sculptor turned performer (after a period of working with the Judson Dance Theatre in the late 1960s) Jonas's early work investigated "issues of space— ways of dislocating it, attenuating it, flattening it, turning it inside out." First with mirrors, then with video or film, indoors or out, Jonas used these devices to create spatial illusions, investing them at the same time with curious personal symbols. Twilight (1975) comprised layers of space activated through various stage levels, movie screen, and transparent scrim, as well as video monitors, through which moved mysterious robed figures, white funnels to their lips. It would be these Grimm's fairy-tale-like creatures that would lead the way to Jonas's later productions. Richard Foreman, director and playwright, constructed a very particular layered space in his Broadway loft for his Ontological Hysteric Theatre. But his figures were far from any fairy tales; rather they were the product of a brain part structuralist, part Surrealist. The action was both what was said (live) and what was about to be said (recorded, matter of fact) as well as what could or should be said (recorded, argumentative), as if one had access to the mind of the "character" and the "writer" and all his silent partners—philosophers, semiologists, psychologists— simultaneously. The only performance work of the time to be profusely verbal, Foreman's productions nevertheless drew attention to spaces and pictures, as defined by words and actions. Robert Wilson, on the other hand, constructed spaces that became the underlying drama of the work; visual landscapes powerfully determined the very presence of the performers, reducing language to background murmurings. In productions such as A Letter to Queen Victmia (1974) or Einstein on the Beach (1976) the sets gave stature and direction to each scene as they were transformedfrom one potent visual image to the next. Unprecedented in scale and spectacle, Wilson brought new life to the "total artwork," investing it not only with his own vivid imagery but with the talents of some of the most interesting artists, musicians, and choreographers of the time. This ability to orchestrate ideas and people, constructing extraordinary visual worlds from their mix, reinforced and extended Wilson's sphere of influence; even while the many artists who at one time or another had worked with Wilson departed to make their own very distinctive work, they carried with them the spirit of his professionalism and rigorousness as well as the confidence of his support. By 1976 performance festivals were taking place at regular intervals throughout New York, as well as in London, at Documenta in Kassel, and the Biennales in Venice and Sydney. There was actually an air of excitement around these events, given that they provided the general public with a milieu for meeting or seeing artists. This was a time, it should be remembered, when painting was still of the more cerebral kind, beautiful stratified canvases by artists such as Bob Ryman, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin, or Cy Twombly, laden with paint or calligraphy, with a quiet, intensive sensuality. But these were not the kind of paintings that made the general public feel at ease, or feel included in any way in the life of the artists or the art scene. On the other hand the nonstop performance festivities stirred the imagination of a public curious to view the art world at closer quarters. Despite New York's densely crowded cultural calendar performance events were heavily attended. Nineteen seventy-six began with a major event at the Whitney Museum, Four Evenings, Four Days, a performance series that announced the now fashionable medium to the New York public at large. The program comprised a mix of newcomers to the city: Michael Smith with his diapered Baby Icky; Adrian Piper with her go-go dancer; local downtown favorites such as Stuart Sherman or Martha Wilsonl artists 50

like Richard Foreman or Robert Wilson, who had already presented major performances in the city; emerging performers who would give solid ground for performance's new popularity such as Laurie Anderson or Julia Heyward. Audiences were attracted by the ever-changing formats for performance: Grommets (a series arranged by Jean Dupuy in his Broadway loft) provided peep-show conditions, viewing cubicles with one artist per canvas partition, while Scott Burton's Pair Behavior Tableau at The Guggenheim Museum situated the viewers at a distance of about a hundred feet. Line Up at The Museum of Modern Art turned the museum into a fairground for performance with events taking place in the penthouse, the stairwell, and galleries. This official acknowledgment of the genre had a twofold effect on the performance scene: on the one hand it whetted the appetite of an audience that might normally not have become involved, and on the other it spurred artists to find less sedate venues for a medium that had traditionally been without traditions—that had in fact been a means to bypass curatorial or critical approval. By 1978 so-called alternative organizations such as The Kitchen Center or Artists Space actually became the showcases for the more accomplished and experienced performers—a "safe" place with a steady and polite audience, as well as regular press coverage. On the other hand the clubs such as The Mudd, TR 3, or Hurrah's provided a difficult proving ground for new work, given the trials of attracting attention above the noise level of the music and the clinking of beer bottles on a bar counter. Both sides in their different ways had similar goals: to provide intelligent and provocative entertainment. Both looked to the Dadaists' Cabaret Voltaire as a precedent for what could ideally be achieved; an easy atmosphere where artists would present work to a nonexclusive audience, without the aura that surrounded art events. This polarization of the genre into rockclub entertainment on the one hand and "art" on the other allowed places like The Kitchen Center to play a more didactic and critical role, situating the work in a thematic or historical context. For the clubs, the artworld following gave credibility to a business enterprise, but it also showed an increased readiness on the part of some press and public to embrace the art world—either because they found it glamorous or because they genuinely looked to it for the unusual and interesting in a city already overburdened by the "fascinating" as portrayed in the hype magazines and the sensational news programs. The sheer density of performers, performance spaces, and audiences slowly created qualitative measures for the work, but the rating system came to resemble more and more that applied to traditional performance. This was as much the result of the maturation and experience of certain artists as it was their looking to entertainers as models or the media as potential vehicles for the work. Lorne Michaels's Saturday Night Live, wlth its audience of millions, offered a tantalizing prospect for some artists and the SNL writers were not unaware of potential raw material in the art world. But, although Michaels had a particular talent for constructing a context for unusual work, particularly in the corporate situation of television, his followers, once he left the show, were not as able or willing. Video and sometime performance artist Mitchell Kriegman was brought in by the second generation of Saturday Night Live, but was dismissed shortly thereafter. The work remained too idiosyncratic and personal for the television team, despite some success with audiences. The Kipper Kids were also very briefly courted by the popular media, appearing with their outrageously silly songs that bordered on the obscene at rock concerts or, once, on network television. But while their bawdiness was just acceptable in the art world, it was not so in the media world. Kriegman or the Kipper Kids aside, these unsuccessful courtships further pointed to whether the machinations of the larger culture would actually permit the inclusion of artwork. For while the media had been looking to performance and its popularity at the clubs and to some artists' video, it was on their part a means to coopt a fashionable trend rather than actually to provide a larger context for work that had entirely different reference points—in terms of both style and content. *** 51

Despite these particular instances the goal of producing material that could appeal both to the art intelligentsia and to the general public was an important one for many artists. As a futuristic ideal it was democratic but it was also an inevitable fact of life in a media society; "the public," narrow or broad, could be reached through the mediation of magazines, television, and daily press; video discs would soon be available to every American home. At the same time these young artists, who had grown up thoroughly accepting of that media world, would understandably "speak its language." It was "only natural" that they seek access to the popular culture. Indeed, one artist who has succeeded in escaping the art-world minority for the larger culture while still maintaining artistic integrity—Laurie Anderson—in a recent performance wore a T-shirt with the words Talk Normal written across it, even as she talked through electronic modifiers that gave her voice the eerie sounds of computerized speech. For her, a normal evening at home is sitting in the dark in her studio playing all her "tech" equipment. This to her is everyday life. So, too, are her performances. Everyday life in American culture is depicted in a four-part opus United States (1978-1982) that was premiered as a whole in the fall of 1982. Presented separately, each hour-and-a-half-long segment has dealt with particular themes—transportation, politics, sociopsychology, and money—juxtaposing images and text, sound and technological inventions. Made up of a series of ironical "talking songs" interspersed with unusual visual devices—such as a slide show that magically appears and disappears at the whisk of a violin bow in the air or red lips that hover in the dark—this series has attracted an extraordinarily large audience. In concert, in a theatre, at clubs like the Ritz, or solo on the road, the mix of smooth professional productions worthy of Broadway with highly unusual content elicits powerful responses from increasingly large circles of followers, Above all Anderson has a talent that prior to her performance work was once considered irrelevant to art performance, and that is stage presence. A "natural," she also understands and expertly applies the performer's power to seduce and control. Whereas in earlier works this quality was disguised by a studied clumsiness, as a protective device against art-world criticism that the work might be entertaining—and therefore banal—Anderson has taken a stand against that argument, pointing out that "seriousness can also be a container for the banal." Anderson's work proves that even while it is entertaining—owing to humor, to language, to timing, style, and presence—it is never banal. Rather the performances that verge on conventional stage shows, with their synched lighting, musical cues, and three-minute segments, allow for the unusual content to be transcribed to wider audiences than might normally consider such issues. For Anderson, the media—radio, television, even telephones—are simply vehicles for ideas and inventions as well as a means to create a personal circuit outside of the gallery one, rather than forms that must necessarily alter the substance of her thinking. And the very clarity of that thinking, the precision with which she molds it to her distinctive style, is an additional explanation of her very broad appeal. Even so, the stage presence, the intricate play between words, song, and extraordinary custom-made instruments that characterize her performances, could not explain the popularity of her record "O Superman" that in 1981 reached Top of the Pops, the English rock-and-roll hit parade. An eight-minute song without bass line or chorus, with a synthesized voice and nonrepetitive lyrics, is not the thing of which a hit song is usually made. Rather, Anderson's hit was a curious blend of haunting electronic sound and disturbing lyrics; a mixture that suggested consumer aesthetics—oppressive and anesthetizing but heroic at the same time. Its title, "O Superman," which Anderson dedicated to Massenet, was, like his song that begins O Souverain…, an appeal for help. About the media culture that controls, it appeals to a generation exhausted by its artifice.


Also in 1981 Anderson signed a six-record contract with Warner Bros. (USA); for the record company she remains an artist, an unusual and intriguing addition to their stable; for Anderson, integrity intact, they provide her with the most professional means to produce her art. What results from this merger will provide some interesting answers to the ongoing question of fine arts and mass culture crossovers, and the art world will be keeping a crose watch on Anderson's progress. In the meantime, Anderson is a model and an influence; directly or indirectly the professionalism of her enterprise has encouraged a study of technique and performance expertise, a trend that has been growing in a number of artists contemporary with Anderson. At first glance this drift toward traditional variety theatre, cabaret, or even situation comedy would seem a conservative one. yet a closer view reveals a subtle analysis of the media culture and of performance as an efiective critical tool. Eric Bogosian, a trained actor performing in the art context, looked to the tradition of solo performers—whether Lenny Bruce or Brother Theodore, Laurie Anderson or Julia Heyward—as confirmation of his concern for presence—the actor's live presence being the energy and the "humanity" of his work. Concerned first and foremost with content, Bogosian at the same time emphasizes acting itself, "framing" the medium as it were by tightly constructing each piece in terms of moves, lighting, and subtly mannered acting. The characters that people his one-person shows are a gallery of contemporary types, and their appearance illustrates his virtuositv as well as his acknowledgment of classical actor training techniques. Such "acting in relief in images that are both two-dimensional—carefully choreogaphed against space and set—and three-dimensional in their breadth of "personality" is as much the result of Bogosian's own love of spectacle (his background was the rock concert, not Broadway) as the result of his proximity to the art scene. Particularly, Bogosian was influenced by artists like Jack Goldstein, Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, and Michael Zwack, some of whom had made performances alongside work in other media and all of whom have appropriated aspects of mass culture in their work. For these artists "growing up" meant being literate in movies and television, not books. The economy of means used to create an image in the media—cutting and cropping, editing and freeze-framing—encouraged an equivalent sensibility in their art and performances. Goldstein's The Fencers (1978) re-created the stop-and-start effects of an editing machine through the use of pulsing white lights against fencing figures in an otherwise dark space, while Robert Longo's Sound Distance of a Good Man (1978) presented a three-part "screen" of figures; two wrestlers in one frame and an opera singer in another flanked a third that comprised a movie of a photograph of a man's and a lion's head. Each performance was the work of an artist who approached the material in much the same way as would a movie director, arriving at isolated and flattened images that resembled movie stills, and with a sense of timing closer to a film loop than to the "real time" of live actors on a stage. The generation that emerged at the time of rock-and-roll's twenty-fifth anniversary and a growing interest in movie history injected bits and pieces of rock nostalgia and Hollywood culture into the art of the early 1980s. Translating this general sensibility, which could be seen in specific downtown New york clubs from around 1978 where many artists were performing in their own new wave bands, into dance was the surprise move of Cunningham-trained Karole Armitage. With her perfectly tuned body, she teamed up with Rhys Chatham and his "out-of-tune guitars" to create a dance piece that would stunningly capture the sensibility of the moment. Drastic Classicism (1980)—a collaboration including Charles Atlas who was responsible for the decor— magically combined all the ingredients of punk/new wave artifacts and energy: their glamour and seediness; their sophistication and simulated dumbness; their sounds and movements; their purples and blacks and splashes of phosphorescent colors. Within this tension there was the balance of classical and anarchistic approaches to both dance and music. There was an evident respect for classical modes expressed by both artists, yet every movement and each guitar chord stretched those modes past the breaking point. Dancers and musicians met head-on in the same performing space, one using the other as support and antagonist in a dialectical tryst. While the musicians held their ground, beating out a wall of sound, the dancers attempted to shove the 53

musicians aside, forced by these physical barriers to create "louder" movements as the intensity of the music increased. Another dancer who made an important break away from so-called postmodern dance, which had held sway for a good decade with its minimal aesthetics and overall conceptual sensibility, was Molissa Fenley. Like Armitage she was fired by the intensity and energy of the performance scene in the late 1970s, the mood that provided the starting point for many of the more visible young artists today. With the barest of external references Fenley managed to suggest the dynamics underlying the nervous energy of the time. Inventing movements that each contained the making of the next series of gestures, Fenley created a mesmerizing and stimulating work called Energizer (1981), which as its title suggests left audience and dancer hyperventilated at its conclusion. Despite New York's ability to regenerate itself continuously, the particular intensity that characterized the clubs and the emerging new scene in various media from 1978 through this four-year period had inevitably to play itself out. Many of the artists who had made performances—Jack Goldstein, Michael McClard, Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, or Robin Winters, to name a few—now make paintings, sculptures, or photographs. They have settled into more contemplative (and profitable) forms of expression, returning to what the world at large considers to be mainstream art. At the same time their work contains many media references, styles, and techniques and is far more popular in its approach, partly as a result of the artists' proximity to performance. This "return to painting”—to more accessible art, after well over a decade of perplexing conceptual material—relieves performance of its fashionable status. This in turn will probably allow those committed to the live medium to develop in a iess frenetic atmosphere, consolidating ideas and motifs without the pressure or influence of prevailing trends. performers of the caliber of Laurie Anderson will no doubt continue to walk the fine line of art and mass culture, keeping the notion of performance in the public eye; Eric Bogosian can more carefully develop a repertoire of men and manners' allowing each to evolve from a much larger frame of reference than the performance scene itself; and younger performers such as Tim Miller or those testing their skills at P.S. 122 or Inroads will have to work with the more sophisticated elements of performance—presence, structure, and spectacle—that the 1970s have consolidated. More than likely these artists will continue to move in the direction of the media—television, video discs, cable—both because of their obvious potential as a way of reaching large audiences, and because they hold the possibility of financial reward in this not-for-profit medium. But above all history will provide its own regenerating force for performance. Even while it continues to be accepted as"a medium in its own right, there is a built-in cyclical aspect to performance history. Throughout the twentieth century it has come and gone in waves, appearing as an irritant and a catalyst when any one prevailing style or art form becomes entrenched. It has been used by young artists determined to attract public attention outside of the decorum of gallery and critics, and as such has often represented the highly experimental aspects of emerging artists, work. Such was the case with the Futurists, the Dadaists, the Surrealists, or more recently with Happenings in the challenge to color-field painting, and body art in its relation to Minimalism. Each time performance is the escape hatch from the art establishment that the new generation of artists needs. yet each time that it returns, performance looks entirely different, even unrecognizable, from the time before. It will be different the next time around. because it will be responding to an entirely new set of cultural and artistic concerns and because no matter how accepted, the definition of performance remains open-ended. Right now, in 1982, performance may be less in the spotlight than the “new painting," less a focus of magazines or festivals than it was in the late 1970s. An era has begun that will bear witness to the establishment of the new


painting styles and their accompanying criticism, but then when the market backing this generation begins to create an impasse for effective work, performance will again rear its head and provide the shake-up that it customarily does.


Part 2: Theory and Criticism Michael Kirby On Acting and Non-Acting Performance art, which is closely linked to such earlier art forms as the Happening and “environmental” performances, borrows elements from these as well as from traditional theatrical forms. Thus acting is an important element of performance art, although it sometimes is important only because the artist attempts to minimize its role. Michael Kirby recognizes that some performances do not involve acting. Nevertheless, other elements carry the meaning in place of acting. Kirby sees acting from these other viewpoints, which he identifies as nonmatrixed performing nonmatrixed representation, received acting, simple acting, and complex acting. In this essay he creates a scale, with examples, that “measures the amount or degree of representation, simulation, impersonation, and so forth in performance behavior.” Michael Kirby writes and directs his plays off-off-Broadway with the Structuralist Workshop; his most recent productions have been Photoanalysis, Double Gothis, Incidents in Renaissance Venice, The Alchemical Caligari, and Prisoners of the Invisible Kingdom. He is the author of Happenings, the Art of Time, and Futurist Performance and is the editor of The Drama Review. He is professor in the graduate department of Performance Studies at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. In his conclusion to this essay Kirby notes that his acting/not-acting scale should not be used to establish values of any kind. “Objectively, all points on the scale are equally good. It is only personal taste that prefers complex acting to simple acting or nonmatrixed performing to acting. The various degrees of representation and personification are ‘colors,’ so to speak, in the spectrum of human performance; the artist may use whichever colors he prefers.” Acting means to feign, to simulate, to represent, to impersonate. As Happenings demonstrated, not all performing is acting. Although acting was sometimes used, the performers in Happenings generally tended to "be" nobody or nothing other than themselves; neither did they represent, or pretend to be in, a time or place different from that of the spectator. They walked, ran, said words, sang, washed dishes, swept, operated machines and stage devices, and so forth, but they did not feign or impersonate. In most cases acting and not-acting are relatively easy to recognize and identify. In a performance we usually know when a person is acting and when he is not. But there is a scale or continuum of behavior involved, and the differences between acting and not-acting may be quite small. In such cases categorization may not be easy. Perhaps some would say it is unimportant, but, in fact, it is precisely these borderline cases that can provide insights into acting theory and into the nature of the art. Let us examine acting by tracing the acting/not-acting continuum from one extreme to the other. We shall begin at the notacting end of the scale, where the performer does nothing to feign, simulate, impersonate, and so forth, and move to the opposite position, where behavior of the type that defines acting appears in abundance. Of course, when we speak of "acting" we are referring not to any one style but to all styles. We are not concerned, for example, with the degree of "reality" but with what we can call, for now, the amount of acting.


NOT-ACTING ACTING There are numerous performances that do not use acting. Many, but by no means all, dance pieces would fit into this category. Several Far Eastern theatres make use of stage attendants such as the kurombo and koken of Kabuki. These attendants move props into position and remove them, help with onstage costume changes, and even serve tea to the actors. Their dress distinguishes them from the actors, and they are not included in the informational structure of the narrative. Even if the spectator ignores them as people, however, they are not invisible. They do not act, and yet they are part of the visual presentation. As we shall see when we get to that point on the continuum, "acting" is active—it refers to the feigning, simulation, and so forth that is done by a performer. But representation, simulation, and other of the qualities that define acting may also be applied to the performer. The way in which a costume creates a "character" is one example of this. Let us forsake performance for a moment and consider how the "costume continuum" functions in daily life. If a person wears cowboy boots on the street, as many people do, we do not identify him as a cowboy. If he also wears a wide, tooled-leather belt and even a Western hat, we do not see this as a costume—even in a northern city. It is merely a choice of clothing. As more and more items of Western clothing—a bandana, chaps, spurs, and so forth—are added, however, we reach the point where we see either a cowboy or a person dressed as (impersonating) a cowboy. The exact point on the continuum at which this kind of specific identification occurs depends on several factors, the most important of which is place or physical context, and it undoubtedly varies quite a bit from person to person. The effect of clothing on stage functions in exactly the same way, but it is more pronounced. A performer wearing only black leotards and Western boots might easily be identified as a "cowboy." This, of course, indicates the symbolic power of costume in performance. It is important, however, to notice the degree to which the external symbolization is supported and reinforced (or contradicted) by the performer's behavior. If the performer moves (acts) like a cowboy, the identification is made much more readily. If he is merely himself, the identification might not be made at all. At this stage on our acting,/not-acting continuum we are concerned with those performers who do not do anything to reinforce the information or identification. When the performer, like the stage attendants of Kabuki and No, is merely himself and is not embedded, as it were, in matrices of pretended or represented character, situation, place, and time, I refer to him as being nonmatrixed.As we move toward acting from this extreme not-acting position on our continuum, we come to that condition in which the performer does not act and yet his costume represents something or someone. We could call this state nonmatrixed representation or nonmatrixed symbolization. NOT-ACTING ACTING NONMATRIXED NONMATRIXED PERFORMING REPRESENTATION In Oedipus, a New Work, by John Perreault, the "main performer," as Perreault refers to him rather than calling him an actor, limps. If we are aware of the title of the piece and of the story of Oedipus, we might assume that this performer represents Oedipus. He does not pretend to limp, however. A stick has been tied "to his right leg underneath his pants in such a way that he will be forced to limp." When the main performer operates a tape recorder, as he does frequently during the presentation, we do not think that this is a representation of Oedipus running a machine. It is 57

a nonmatrixed performer doing something. The lighting of incense and the casting of a reading from the I Ching can be seen as a reference to the Delphic oracle; the three lines of tape that the main performer places on the floor so that they converge in the center of the area can be seen as representing the place where, at the intersection of three roads, Oedipus killed his father, and the limp (and the sunglasses that the main performer wears throughout the piece) can be considered to stand for aspects of Oedipus. The performer, however, never behaves as if he were anyone other than himself. He never represents elements of character. He merely carries out certain actions. In nonmatrixed representation the referential elements are applied to the performer and are not acted by him. And just as Western boots do not necessarily establish "a cowboy," a limp may convey information without establishing a performer as "Oedipus." When, as in Oedipus, a New Work, the character and place matrices are weak, intermittent, or nonexistent, we see a person, not an actor. As "received" references increase, however, it is difficult to say that the performer is not acting even though he is doing nothing that we could define as actins. In a New York luncheonette before Christmas we might see "a man in a Santa Claus suit" drinking coffee; if exactly the same action were carried out on stage in a setting representing a rustic interior, we might see "Santa Claus drinking coffee in his home at the North Pole." When the matrices are strong, persistent, and reinforce each other, we see an actor, no matter how ordinary the behavior. This condition, the next step closer to true acting on our continuum, we may refer to as received acting. NOT-ACTING ACTING NONMATRIXED NONMATRIXED RECEIVED PERFORMING REPRESENTATION ACTING Extras, who do nothing but walk and stand in costume, are seen as "actors." Anyone merely walking across a stage containing a realistic setting might come to represent a person in that place—and, perhaps, time—without doing anything we can distinguish as acting. There is the story of the critic who headed backstage to congratulate a friend and could be seen by the audience as he passed outside the windows of the onstage house; it was an opportune moment in the story, however, and he was accepted as part of the play. Neither does the behavior in received acting necessarily need to be simple. Some time ago I remember reading about a play in which John Garfield—I am fairly sure it was he, although I no longer know the title of the play—was an extra. During each performance he played cards and gambled with several friends onstage. They really played, and the article emphasized how much money someone had won (or lost). At any rate, as my memory is incomplete, let us imagine a setting representing a bar. In one of the upstage booths, several men play cards throughout the act. Let us say that none of them has lines in the play; they do not react in any way to the characters in the story we are observing. These men do not act. They merely play cards. And yet we also see them as characters, however minor, in the story and we say that they, too, are acting. We do not distinguish them from the other actors. If, as I should like to do, we define acting as something that is done by a performer rather than something that is done for or tohim, we have not yet arrived at true acting on our scale. "Received actor" is only an honorary title, so to speak. Although the performer seems to be acting, he actually is not. Nonmatrixed performing, nonmatrixed representation, and received acting are stages on the continuum that move from not-acting to acting. The amount of simulation, representation, impersonation, and so forth has increased as we have moved along the scale, but, so far, none of this was created by the performer in a special way we could designate as acting. 58

Whereas acting in its most complete form ofiers no problem of definition, our task in constructing a continuum is to designate those transitional areas in which acting "begins." What are the simplest characteristics that define acting? NOT-ACTING ACTING NONMATRIXED NONMATRIXED RECEIVED SIMPLE PERFORMING NEPRESENTATION ACTING ACTING These characteristics may be either physical or emotional. If the performer does something to simulate, represent, impersonate, and so forth, he is acting. It does not matter what style he uses or whether the action is part of a complete characterization or an informational presentation. No emotion needs to be involved. The definition can depend solely on the character of what is done. (Value judgments, of course, are not involved. Acting is acting whether or not it is done "well" or accurately.) Thus a person who, as in the game of charades, pretends to put on a jacket that does not exist or feigns being ill is acting. Acting can be said to exist in the smallest and simplest action that involves pretense. Acting also exists in emotional rather than strictly physical terms, however. Let us say, for example, that we are at a presentation by the Living Theatre of Paradise Now. It is that well-known section in which the performers, working individually, walk through the auditorium speaking directly to the spectators. "I'm not allowed to travel without a passport," they say. "I'm not allowed to smoke marijuana!" "I'm not allowed to take my clothes off!" They seem sincere, disturbed, and angry. Are they acting? The performers are themselves; they are not portraying characters. They are in the theatre, not in some imaginary or represented place. What they say is certainly true. They are not allowed to travel—at least between certain countries—without a passport; the possession of marijuana is against the law. And I think we will all grant that the performers really believe what they are saying—that they really feel these rules and regulations are unjust. Acting exists only in their emotional presentation. At times in "real life" we meet a person that we feel is acting. This does not mean that he is lying, dishonest, living in an unreal world, or that he is necessarily giving a false impression of his character and personality. It means that he seems to be aware of an audience—to be "onstage"— and that he reacts to this situation by energetically projecting ideas, emotions, and elements of his personality for the sake of the audience. That is what the performers in Paradise Now were doing. They were acting their own emotions and beliefs. Let us phrase this problem in a slightly difierent way. Public speaking, whether it is extemporaneous or makes use of a script, may involve emotion, but it does not necessarily involve acting. Yet some speakers, while retaining their own characters and remaining sincere, seem to be acting. At what point does acting appear? At the point at which the emotions are "pushed" for the sake of the spectators. This does not mean that the speaker is false or does not believe what he is saying. It merely means that he is selecting and projecting an element of character—that is, emotion—to the audience. In other words it does not matter whether an emotion is ereated to fit an acting situation or whether it is simply amplified. One principle of "method" acting—at least as it is taught in this country—is the use of whatever real feelings and emotions the actor has while playing the role. (Indeed, this became quite a joke: No matter what unusual or uncomfortable physical urges or psychological needs or problems the actor had, he was advised to "use" them.) It may be merely the use and projection of emotion that distinguishes acting from not-acting. 59

I think that this is an important point. It indicates that acting involves a basic psychic or emotional component; although this component exists in all forms of acting to some degree (except, of course, received acting), it in itself is enough to distinguish acting from not-acting. Because this element of acting is mental, a performer may act without moving. I do not mean that, as has been mentioned previously, the motionless person "acts" in a passive and "received" way by having a character, a relationship, a place, and so on imposed on him by the information provided in the presentation. The motionless performer may convey certain attitudes and emotions that are acting even though no physical action is involved. Further examples of rudimentary acting—as well as examples of not-acting—may be seen in the well-known "mirror" exercise in which two people stand facing each other while one copies or "reflects," as if he were a mirror, the movements of the other. Although this is an exercise used in training actors, acting itself is not necessarily involved. The movements of the first person, and therefore those of the second, might not represent or pretend. Each might merely raise and lower his arms or turn his head. The movements could be completely abstract. It is here, however, that the perceived relationship between the performer and what he is creating can be seen to be crucial to the definition of acting. Even "abstract" movements may be personified and made into a character of sorts through the performer's attitude. If he seems to indicate "I am this thing" rather than merely "I am doing these movements," we accept him as the "thing": He is acting. Nevertheless, we do not accept the "mirror" as acting, even though he is a "representation" of the first person. He lacks the psychic energy that would turn the abstraction into a personification. If an attitude of "I am imitating you" is projected, however—if purposeful distortion or "editorializing" appears rather than the neutral attitude of exact copying—the mirror becomes an actor even though the original movements were abstract. The same exercise may easily involve acting in a more obvious way. The first person, for example, may pretend to shave. The mirror, in copying these feigned actions, becomes an actor now in spite of his neutral attitude. (We could call him a received actor because, like character and place in our earlier examples, the representation has been "put on" him without that inner creative attitude and energy necessary for true acting. His acting, like that of a marionette, is controlled from the outside.) If the originator in the mirror exercise put on his jacket, he would not necessarily be acting; if he or the mirror, not having a jacket, pretended to put one on, it would be acting, and so on. As we have moved along the continuum from not-acting to acting, the amount of representation, personification, and so forth has increased. Now that we have arrived at true acting, we may say that it, too, varies in amount. Small "amounts" of acting—like those in the examples that have been given—will occupy that part of the scale closest to received acting, and we can move along the continuum to a hypothetical "maximum amount" of acting. Indeed, the only alternative would seem to be an "on-off'or "all or-nothing" view in which all acting is theoretically (if not qualitatively) equal and undifferentiated. Amount is a difficult word to use in this case, however. Because, especially for Americans, it is easy to assume that "more is better," any reference to amount may be taken to indicate relative value or worth. It is better to speak of simple and complex acting with the hope that these terms can be accepted as objective and descriptive rather than evaluative. After all, simple and complex are terms that may be ascribed quite easily and without an implied value judgment to other performance arts such as music and dance. A ballad is relatively simple compared to a symphony; the ordinary fox-trot is much less complex than the filmed dances of Fred Astaire. Let us apply the same kind of analysis to acting, remembering that simple acting, such as we saw in the mirror exercise, may be very good, whereas complex acting is not necessarily good and may, indeed, be quite bad. 60

Complex acting, then, would be the final condition on our acting/not-acting continuum. What do we mean by complex acting? In what ways can acting be simple or complex? NOT-ACTING ACTING NONMATRIXED NONMATRIXED RECEIVED SIMPLE PERFORMING REPRESENTATION ACTING ACTING ACTING


The simplest acting is that in which only one element or dimension of acting is used. Emotion, as we have seen, may be the only area in which pretense takes place. Or, as in the mirror exercise, only an action such as putting on a jacket may be simulated. Other acting exercises attempt to isolate various aspects of acting, and they are proof that behavior, which is complex, can be broken down into simple units. The simple/complex scale also applies to each individual aspect of acting. Emotion may be generalized and unchanging, or it may be specific, modulating and changing frequently within a given period of time. An action may be performed in a simple or a complex way. In the game of charades, for example, we may only indicate that we are putting on a jacket. As long as our team understands what we are doing, the acting is successful. The same action becomes more complex as details such as the resistance of the material, the degree of fit, the weight of the jacket, and so on are acted. (The word indicate that was just used in connection with charades has negative connotations in the technical vocabulary of the American "method." Practitioners of the method cannot accept an element of acting that exists in relative isolation and is not totally integrated by being "justified" and related to other elements. In other styles, however, isolated acting elements are perfectly acceptable and are used, among other things, to focus attention.) Acting becomes complex as more and more elements are incorporated into the pretense. Let us say that the performer putting on a jacket is part of a scene: he may choose to act emotion (fear, let us say), physical characteristics (the person portrayed is old), place (there is a bright sun), and many other elements. Each of these could be performed in isolation, but when they are presented simultaneously or in close proximity to each other, the acting becomes complex. In a like manner it is obvious that when speech is added to mime, the resultant acting is more complex than the mime alone; the acting involved in a staged reading will, in all likelihood, be less complex than the acting in a fully staged production of the same script, and so forth. In part, complexity is related to skill and technical ability. Some styles make use of a highly specialized vocabulary that is quite complex. This does not contradict our earlier statement that the acting/not-acting continuum is independent of value judgments. It is not a question of whether a performer can do certain complex acting well but whether he can do it at all. Anyone can act; not everyone can act in a complex way. Yet the analysis of acting according to simple/complex does not necessarily distinguish one style from another, although it could be used to compare styles of acting. Each style has a certain range when measured on a simple/complex scale, and in almost all performances the degree of complexity varies somewhat from moment to moment. It would be impossible to say, for example, that the realistic style of acting is necessarily more complex than the "Grotowski style" of expressionism. Realism, in its most complete and detailed form, would certainly be considered relatively complex. Yet there are many approaches to realism; some—such as those used in many films—ask very little of the actor and would be considered relatively simple. The film actor may do very little, while the camera and the physical/informational context do the "acting" for him. A nonrealistic style, however, such as that developed by Grotowski can also be extremely complex. 61

When I saw The Constant Prince, I felt that I had never seen performers act so much: the impression was not one of overacting but of many things taking place simultaneously in the work of a single actor. During the Prince's long monologues the other performers did not decrease the complexity of their acting; their bodies were frequently involved in F numerous, detailed, small-scale movements. In part, at least, this complexity may be explained by Grotowski's exercises, which are designed to develop the ability of the actor to express different, and even contradictory, things with different parts of his body at the same time. However, other companies that use what may be recognized as Grotowski style act very simply. Thus, we have arrived at a scale that measures the amount or i degree of representation, simulation, impersonation, and so forth in performance behavior. Although the polar states are acting and not-acting, we can discern a continuous increase in the degree of representation from nonmatrixed performing through nonmatrixed representation, received acting, and simple acting to complex acting. Belief may exist in either the spectator or the performer, but it does not affect objective classification according to our acting/not-acting scale. Whether an actor feels what he is doing to be "real" or a spectator really "believes" what he sees does not change the classification of the performance; it merely suggests another area or parameter. Various types and styles of acting are, indeed, seen as more or less realistic, but, except as an indication of style, the word reality has little usefulness when applied to acting. From one point of view all acting is, by definition, "unreal" because pretense, impersonation, and so forth are involved. From another point of view all acting is real. Philosophically, a No play is as real (if not as realistic) as a Chekhov production. Pretense and impersonation, even in those rare cases when they are not recognized as such, are as real as anything else. Most plays, of course, even the most naturalistic ones, do not attempt to fool the observer into thinking that they are real—that they do not involve acting. Illusionary stagecraft and realistic acting do not intend or expect to be taken for real life any more than an illusionistic painting is intended to be mistaken for what it represents. In almost all performances we see the "real" person and also what he is representing or pretending. The actor is visible within the character. To say that no performance can deceive a spectator would not be true, however. True and complete illusion is possible in the theatre; acting may actually "lie," be believed, and be seen as not being acting at all. This happened in Norman Taffel's Little Trips. Little Trips began with an enactment by two performers of the story of Cassandra, who was captured by the Greeks when Troy fell. After acting out several incidents—the entry of the Trojan Horse, the rape of Cassandra, and so on—the spectators, who were standing around the performing area, were asked to join the actors, if they wished, and to play the same incidents, which would be repeated. At some point in the first or second repetition, while some spectators watched and others participated, the play began to break down. Perhaps one of the spectators protested that they should not—for this was one of the carefully selected images—be spitting in "Cassandra's" mouth. Perhaps the performers began to argue, and the spectators took sides. At each performance there was an argument; the play, as it had been described to the spectators in a preliminary introduction, never ended. This is the way the presentation had been planned, however. By talking to and exploiting the feelings of the participating spectators, with whom they were able to talk more or less informally, the actors were often able to make them, unknowingly, part of the planned "breakdown" of the performance. The entire performance was designed to move from the context of "art" to that of "life." Many people actually believed it; indeed, some never discovered that what they thought was a real argument that "destroyed” the performance had actually been acted.


(During Little Trips the two performers changed from a rather simple form of acting that could be more or less copied by participating members of the audience to a conversational style, the realism of which was, perhaps, heightened by the contrast. In terms of our previous discussion of acting, however, it is important to note that the effect of reality did not depend entirely on the acting. It is not only the behavior of the performers but the total performance experience that determines the spectator's response. What creates an illusion in one context will not necessarily do so in another, and in other frames of reference the same acting would have remained acting.) There is another type of performance in which the spectator does not recognize the acting for what it really is. I remember meeting an Argentine architect who told of her experiences at an all-night religious ceremony of some sort on the northern coast of Brazil. At one point costumed performers appeared who were thought to be dead ancestors. This caused panic among the believers because the doors were locked, and they thought if these ghost beings touched them they, too, would die. Although belief of this kind obviously affects the quality of the experience, it does not mean that pretense, impersonation, and so forth were not involved in the performance. The appearance of the "dead ancestors was acted. Even if the performers believed themselves to be dead, acting would have been involved. Belief would not change the objective fact that something or someone was being represented. This is not to say that belief cannot be an important aspect of acting in certain styles. A principle of the method that achieved the stature of a cliché was the attempt by the actor to really believe what the character was doing. If he was successful, the audience would really believe, too. There is no question that this approach has frequently been successful. The attempt to believe undoubtedly attains or approaches with some certainty and predictability the goals that are sought, and it well may be the best approach to these particular problems. At the same time it is just as clear that belief is not an acceptable criterion for an actor. Many times the actor, when faced with a certain lack of belief by his audience, protests that he really believed. The important point, however, is that when belief is present or is attained by a performer, acting itself does not disappear. The acting/not-acting scale measures pretense, impersonation, feigning, and so forth; it is independent of either the spectator's or the performer's belief. During the last ten or twelve years theatre in the United States has undergone a more complete and radical change than in any other equivalent period in its history. At least this is true of the theatre considered as an art rather than as a craft, business, or entertainment. Since, in the past, almost all of American theatre has been craft, business, or entertainment, this may not be a very startling fact, but the changes have been striking and extensive. Every aspect of performance has been affected, including acting. As recently as the fall and winter of 1964 The Drama Review could devote two complete issues to Stanislavsky; now the method no longer has the absolute dominance it once did in this country, and certain alternative approaches are attracting great interest. Everyone now seems to realize that acting does not mean just one thing—the attempt to imitate life in a realistic and detailed fashion. Thus eclecticism or diversity in the approaches to acting is one aspect of the recent change in American theatre. In terms of our theoretical acting/not-acting continuum, however, we can be more specific: There has, within the last ten years, been a shift toward the not-acting end of the scale. This means not only that more nonmatrixed performing has been used but that, in a number of ways, acting has grown less complex. A brief review of recent developments will allow us to examine how this has come about while also providing additional examples of the various areas on the acting/ not-acting scale. The most important single factor in the recent changes in per formance has been the socalled Happening. Happenings, of course, are now a part of history. The term is best used in a completely historical and sociological way to refer to those works created as part of the international Happenings movement of the early and mid-1960s. (The first piece called a 63

Happening was done in 1959, but other generically similar works preceded it, and the term is important only as a reference and as a popular catchphrase.) The necessary thing to notice, however, is that works that, on completely formal grounds, can be called Happenings continue to be done and that almost all of the many innovations produced by Happenings have been applied to narrative, informational, acted theatre. Although I have no wish to perpetuate the name, those who think that Happenings were unimportant, or that the theatre form characterized by Happenings is no longer alive merely because the word is no longer used, are lit'erary and do not understand the nature of the form. At any rate, the Happening can help to explain much about current developments in acting. Under the direct influence of Happenings every aspect of theatre in this country has changed: scripts have lost their importance and performances are created collectively; the physical relationship of audience and performance has been altered in many different ways and has been made an inherent part of the piece; audience participation has been investigated; "found" spaces rather than theatres have been used for performance and several different places employed sequentially for the same performance; there has been an increased emphasis on movement and on visual imagery (not to mention a soon commercialized use of nudity), and so forth. It would be difficult to find any avant-garde performance in this country that did not show the influence of Happenings in one way or another. But Happenings made little use of acting. How, then, could they have anything to do with the recent changes in acting? One way to see this is to examine the historical relationship between Happenings and the more prominent United States theatre groups. The history is not very old, but things are forgotten very quickly. The last play that the Living Theatre produced before going into their period of self-imposed exile in Europe was The Brig. It was a realistic play with supposed documentary aspects, and it emphasized the "fourth wall": a high wire-mesh fence closed off the proscenium opening, separating the spectators and the performers. When the Living Theatre opened their next production in Paris in October 1964, their style and form, if not the sociopolitical nature of their content, had changed completely. Mysteries and Smaller Pieces was a Happening. (They would later do another piece, Paradise Now, that could also have been called a Happening.) Of course, Mysteries was not called a Happening by the Living Theatre, and few, especially in Europe, recognized it as such. (Claes Oldenburg, who was the first one I knew to see it, identified it, but this might have been expected. He had seen quite a few Happenings.) At any rate the performance was without plot, story, or narrative. It was divided into sequential scenes or compartments: one emphasized movement, another sound, another the smell of incense, and so forth. Some even involved acyng. The performance was apparently put together on rather short notice and was the work of the group rather than any one writer. (Almost all of the major Happenings were the product of one artist's imagination, but Happenings often were created by a group, each of whom contributed his specialty—music, design, poetry, and so forth—and, among other things, the form gained the reputation of being a group creation, thus inspiring those who were dissatisfied with working from an author's previously written script.) Certain images in Mysteries and Smaller Pieces came from The Brig, but much of it was taken from outside the group and was identical or similar to various "event" and Happening images. In one of the later sections of Mysteries all of the members of the cast died. That is, they pretended to die. Death can by symbolized, but they chose to act it. No acting of this sort was taking place in the Happenings; the Living Theatre chose to use elements of acting within the Happening structure. But the acting did not involve character, place, or situation—other than, perhaps, the conditions of the Artaudian plague that was the cause of death. The actors were only themselves "dying" in the aisles and on the stage of the theatre.


This simplification of acting is typical of much of the work in the new theatre. Indeed, the movement toward the nonmatrixed or reality end of our acting/not-acting continuum made some wonder when death itself would become real rather than "merely" acted in performance. In Happening-like presentations Ralph Ortiz—and others before him—had decapitated live chickens. Peter Brook included the burning of a butterfly in US. (Live butterflies were seen flying out of a box, but there is some doubt whether the burned butterfly was indeed real. Cutting the head off a chicken makes death obvious; a butterfly can be "faked." "We cannot tell," reads the script of US, "if it is real or false.") One of the scenes in Mysteries and Smaller Pieces was a sound-and-movement exercise taken from the Open Theatre. Two lines of performers face each other. A performer from one line moves toward the other line, making a particular sound-and-movement combination. A person from the second line "takes" the movement and sound, changing them before passing them on to someone in the first line, and so forth. Like the mirror exercise that was discussed earlier, this use of an acting exercise as an actual performance is one way to simplify acting by concen

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Six Sigma Methodology

...metodología Six Sigma, es una herramienta que se basa en conocimientos y procedimientos como el análisis para desarrollar mejoras y de esta forma evitar que se presente la variabilidad. Utiliza herramientas que le facilitan la obtención de datos así como herramientas estadísticas para la caracterización y el estudio de los procesos. Esta ideología fue iniciada en Japón, primariamente por la marca Motorola y es una evolución de otras herramientas que buscaban la mejora de la calidad de sus servicios. Si hablamos de los beneficios que esta metodología nos puede brindar son muchos, pero principalmente podemos decir que busca reducir o eliminar los defectos, fallas o errores en la entrega de un producto o servicio al cliente. Su principal meta de seis sigma es llegar a un máximo de 3,4 defectos por millón de sucesos, eventos u oportunidades (DPMO). Y uno de sus beneficios es que mejora la rentabilidad y la productividad. Para desarrollar esta metodología es necesaria la efectuación de varios pasos y todo el proceso de llegar a la meta final de los 3,4 defectos por millón podría tardar años e incluso podría ser una meta difícil de alcanzar. En resumen sus pasos son: definir el problema o el defecto, medir y recopilar datos, analizar los datos, mejorar y controlar el proceso. Luego...

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Lean Six Sigma

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...INTRODUCCIÓN    E​l  conflicto  israel -­palestino  es  uno  de  los  más  complejos  del  escenario  internacional  y  la  principal  clave  de  la  inestabilidad  en  Oriente  Medio.  El  territorio  conocido  como  Palestina  es  motivo  de  una  disputa  desde  hace  casi  un  siglo,  y  especialmente a raíz de la creación del Estado  de Israel en 1948 y el abortado nacimiento del Estado árabe palestino.  En  este  conflicto   se  conjugan  elementos  diversos.  Nació  como  la  disputa  por  un  territorio  entre  dos  movimientos  nacionales  con  diferentes  proyectos  nacionales;  provocó  la  intromisión  de   las  potencias  durante  la  Guerra  Fría;  con  el  tiempo  implicó  a  otros  actores  regionales,  ocasionando  conflictos  bélicos,  y  se  complicó  aún  más  las  ideologías,  religión  y  control  de  los  recursos  naturales…                          ANTECEDENTES  A  fines  del  siglo  XIX,  en  un  contexto  en  el  que  interviene  el  desarrollo  del  nacionalismo  y  las  persecuciones que sufre la población judía en la Europa del Este, nace el movimiento sionista. Su  fundador  Theodor  Herzl  defiendo  el  reagrupamiento  de   la  población  hebrea  de  la  "diáspora"  en  Palestina.  Este  territorio, cuna original del pueblo de Israel, estaba poblado mayoritariamente por  árabes palestinas había sido parte del Imperio Turco desde el siglo XVI.  Desde  1882  se  establecen  las  primeras  aldeas  de  pioneros  y ...

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Partial Conclusion aumento do número de atendimentos. Pretendemos citar agora algumas das mudanças que a nova equipe de gestão realizou para que esse resultado se tornasse possível: 1- Aumento do quadro de médicos A UPA tinha sérios problemas de falta de médicos. Antes, eram de três a quatro médicos por plantão, agora são um mínimo de seis de dia e outros seis à noite. A equipe precisou enfrentar o desinteresse dos profissionais que não desejavam trabalhar na UPA pela sua má fama e contou com o conhecimento anterior adquirido no trabalho em outras UPAS para trazer profissionais experientes e altamente capacitados com quem já haviam trabalhado. De acordo com Pedrosa “Demos condições de trabalho e enfatizamos o serviço de rotina. Se antes tínhamos de 15 a 18 pacientes internados, este número passou a ficar entre seis a nove. Isto porque era um só médico, que não conseguia atender ao fluxo de saída da unidade”, além disso o tempo de permanência de pacientes na UPA também foi reduzido, o que acarretou na melhoria do trabalho dos demais funcionário da unidade. Ainda de acordo com Pedrosa “Hoje há médicos batendo na porta e já não temos vagas. Se antes a fama não era boa, hoje há fila de espera”. 2- Melhoria do relacionamento entre a UPA e o Getúlio Vargas Quando a equipe chegou, o hospital se recusava a receber pacientes da UPA por causa do histórico da antiga gestão que muitas vezes “mentia” sobre a condição do paciente...

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Artigo de seus ângulos internos mede 60 graus. Premissa: cada ângulo do triangulo ABC mede 60 graus. Conclusão: logo, o triangulo ABC é eqüiângulo. 2. Há alguém que entende este documento? Premissa: 3. O composto ouro-argônio, provavelmente, não é produzido no laboratório, muito menos na natureza desde que é difícil fazer o argônio reagir com qualquer outra coisa e desde que o ouro, também, forma poucos compostos. Premissa: é difícil fazer o argônio reagir com qualquer outra coisa desde que o ouro também forma poucos compostos. Conclusão: Logo, o composto ouro-argônio provavelmente não é produzido no laboratório muito menos na natureza. 4. Ela prometeu levar o sobrinho ao cinema e, assim, é o que ela fará. Portanto, se não levá-lo ao cinema, ela estará definitivamente errada. Premissa: Ela estará definitivamente errada se não levar o sobrinho ao cinema. Conclusão: Logo, ela prometeu levá-lo. 5. Se eu não souber o que está errado, não posso ajudá-lo. Não sei que está errado, não posso ajudá-lo. Premissa: Não posso ajudá-lo, pois não sei o que está errado. Conclusão: Logo se não souber o que está errado não posso ajudá-lo. 6. Se dermos à eternidade o significado não de duração temporal infinita, mas de intemporalidade, então a vida eterna pertence aos que vivem no presente. (Wittgenstein). Premissa: A vida eterna pertence aos que...

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