I accept the point about the importance of the score. This is important in
other practices as well, such as intermedia and systems based practice.
However, I think the viscerality of Schneemann and Ono's work is such that
the score is not the main thing. I saw the Abramowic show at MoMA. The
performance in the atrium was riveting. The reconstructions of earlier works
on the top floor, performed by others, offered interesting perspectives on
her (and Ulay's) earlier practice but as artworks failed. Having experienced
one of their original and best known works "in the flesh" (many years ago) I
could make a comparison. The reconstructions had no viscerality or sense of
danger at all. They were contrived tableau vivant "snaps" of something that
will never exist again - unless Marina and Ulay decide to get together and
do it all again; and then the question remains open as this could also come
across as just a shadow of the work. To date the video documentation remains
the best record of the works, but the tapes are only records and offer a
very partial sense of what they were like. They don't make your skin crawl,
they don't make you giggle or whimper whilst your face is an inch from that
of the artists, you can't smell what they ate for lunch.
I don't see how you can collect or preserve work like this. I also don't
understand why you would want to. Being of their moment was half their
impact, the other half being a function of the artist's own presence as
subject/object. I enjoy visiting Mr Bentham and saying hello to him whenever
I am at UCL but I don't mistake him for a living performing person - he is a
stuffed envelope, a puppet at best. Mr Bentham left the building long ago.
I hope that makes sense.
On 03/02/2011 13:58, "Johannes Birringer" <[log in to unmask]>
> hello Simon and all:
> thanks for the response to my comments on the dissolving dresses
> and cut pieces.
> It looks like a passionate defense of the subject of performance, what you
> write Simon,
> and yet may I beg to differ slightly? (not that I differ from you about the
> subjects of
> performance and the performers).....
> But what if one were to see the "Cut Piece"
> as a concert piece (Ono was a musician, had worked with
> John Cage and Ornette Coleman, and she was invited to stage
> the "concert" at Carnegie Recital Hall)?
> And there she performed her score (the instruction, which as you rightly point
> ambiguously invites the audience - and the Cagean overtones can be
> heard -- to partake of/perform the instrument, scissors, her cloth on her
> and all the things that might be heard/seen during the performance, the
> cutting -
> i think this constitutes a sound of music performance (via Goebel) or a
> performance piece if you will, that can be restaged, reperformed
> and reexhibited, and I'd argue that the museum has already
> archived Ono, successfully.
> No doubt the same has happened to Paik and his media art works
> and other Fluxus artists and their more/less ephemeral pieces
> (long in the waiting, but it eventually happened,
> with Carolee Schneemann, and I'd venture to guess she welcomes it,
> as did Tehching Hsieh, who had been almost entirely forgotten &
> marginalized. Tehching Hsieh meticulously documented his long durational
> time pieces with photographs, serials and serials of them, and as with Paik,
> their exhibition raises numerous issues, as they are now exhibitable
> as photographic time art objects related to the "original").
> with regards
> Johannes Birringer
> dap-lab. london
> Simon schreibt:
> "Cut Piece" is a performance that derives its value from the interactions of
> the artist (who is the subject and object) and the audience who are invited
> to cut her clothes. Ono's work is not as extreme or as interesting as
> Abramowic's, who also worked with knives - but where the audience cut her -
> but nevertheless a good illustration of an early work dealing with
> inter-subjectivity, the performative and the ephemeral. As a work it is
[log in to unmask]
[log in to unmask]