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Performed Art

{Down to START} Also: Main link: -[Performance Art]- See also: [(art) concepts] [Art MovementsPerformed Text] -[Performance, Absurd]- -[post post-modernism]- [Dada] [Dadaism] (an art "ism") [Performance frank: Realism Now!] [Why Bother?] [ "PARTS ONE, TWO, THREE" ] [The Performed Art Act] [The Performed Art Technology] [The Performed Danse] [Performed Art: Filmed] [The Performed Performance] [The Performed Score] [The Performed Text] [The Performed UFO's] (and esp, etc) [The Performed WEB (including programming)] [Fluxus] [Street Art] [Interventionist Art] [T.A.Z.] (Association for Ontological Anarchy) (Hakim Bey, chief janitor) [Frank's stuff]

Performed Art

On this page: {
Intro} {Stuff} {Performed ArtWorks (paintings, sculptures)} {Elements}


In this series of files (essays? explorations? substitutes for low-cost fire insurance?), i've been trying to figure out what are the similarities and differences between what we loosely refer to as "performance art" and other forms of the arts. To my way of thinking, the arts consists of the following: Art - now how did that happen? Theatre - live's the thing Music History Writing and Danse - I always take from the Russian "tansivallii" - i'd been forced to perform square dance for the various civic groups during those hard, cold winters in Nebraska and was never really taken with danse (well, at least in groups - i've always liked the "Teaburry Shuffle") so i got to see the Boloshi (yep them) and a troup of Georgian Danseurs (from the Georgia located on the Black Sea not the Atlantic Ocean. Way cool. Nice to see things live - oh, well "just another one of life's many transforming moments) -[
Of Tibilsi]- -[Of Atlanta fame]- START AGAIN Anyway, each of these "things" has a certain way of looking at the world. And each is not only highly subjective to the viewer, but in the way it's presented. You'll note the inclusion of history; who wins the battle, writes the history. One thing is the concept of the "amateur" vs the "professional", i'll simply take it as read that this is pretty much a value judgement by people who have something to protect. If an "rank amateur" such as Rouseau could be welcomed by the surrealists (even they all knew that he hadn't been *formally* trained), and we must at least in some small measure accept Rodia's "Watts Towers" as *art*, and if then what do we do with theatre? and music? and history? Prior to the 20th century (and the latter bit of it), there wasn't really an "academic track" for artists as such. Indeed, we can go back to the science of anthropology and look at people like Zora Neale Hurston who formally trained with the *great* Franz Boas? We might be tempted to look at her "research" as not of the same high calliber that we might judge the work of Albert Einstein. And that's part of the "measuring fallacy" itself. That what ever it is that artists do, its somehow not as amazing as what physicists do. There's this sort of arrogant "pecking order" of accomplishment and of course it derives (i would take as read) by the same sort of appraisal derived from evolutionary survival tactics/skills/selections/etc that let us determine social interaction, co-operation, and hostility levels in others. Translate that into "whose number one", and you get the absurdity of saying (as in times past) that one race is more evolutionarily fit to survive than another. (Refer to Stephen J. Gould's "The MisMeasure of Man" for starters). Or, of course: An historian is no match for a nuclear physicst in terms of intellectual abilities, deserving of awe/admiration/hero-worship/etc. So, it goes. START AGAIN Essentially, all creative works "fill a void". The void is the "un-answered question" (which arrised from the "as yet, un-asked question"). Prior to Einstein embarking on relativity, his parents though his interest in being a physicist a waste of time, since with the discovery of electricity and all of the modern wonders of the "fin d'cycle'" 1900 everything had already been done. Thus, electronics (Lee de Forest noticing one of Edison's failed light bulb creations), rocketry (the mad dreams of people like the un-celebrated Konstantin Tsilikovski (multi-stage rockets, space stations, etc), and in fact radio (predicted by James Clerk Maxwell's equations), but until all of the "static" that kept cropping up in telephony un-known and un-suspected. And of coure, this is in the more or less deterministic world of science. After all, electrons/positrons, radio waves, action/re-action are fundamental properties of our universe and exist whether the mere humans (see map) can figure out how to "discover" them or not. See the TV series "Connections" by John Burke (as a reporter, he covered the Apollo 11 moon landing for the BBC). But, then think about then things like art, music, danse, theatre, history. One might argue that history has much in common with science - things are "out there" - just waiting to be studied, cataloged, and structured. Of course (again going back to anthropology) - everything is relative to the culture that is writing the history. This forced historians to "step outside the stage of the human drama" and at least *try* to be objective. See, "Telling the Truth about History" by a grand trio of writers, Appleby, Hunt, and Jacob. They use the backdrop of how the "truths" of American History have been taught. And theatre. It has so many versions and forms that it extends out into almost every other form of human behaviour/expression/thought. In fact Monty Python brought this clearly into view with their "Wuthering Heights" performed entirely in signalling flag semaphore. And then we go to all of the extremes from mime (play without words) to the chorus of classical Greek drama (story stripped to pure word, an almost voice-less mirror of the play and its context/public/times). Danse which mirrors all that we are in the form of movement. We walk and run - to have covered the entire globe, and then stylised into all possible emotions; story told by movement and gesture (thus returning to mime but with rhthyms). Music - oddest of all. Rhthyms of the body/nature/seasons captured into the mind and reflected back out into the externalisation of what the mind perceives as pattern. Indeed, as John Cage noted (who explored all of the possibilities of sound and music - almost going deaf from listening to the rhythms of a jack-hammer breaking up concrete), he went so far as to say that of the patterns of music A, AA, AAA, ABAB, etc "many are possible, few are tried". And then "un-written" around this is "writing". Even in cultures that did not have a *written* language (language is above all else, a LIVING thing - think about the so-called "dead" language of Latin). Spoken text, a speech, announcement, poetry (rhymed, meterted, etc), and then the various fomrs of the written word (from hieroglyphs to caligrphic forms). And then there's art. Probably the least formed of them all. For the most part, it has had been under the guiding principle of representation/conformity/utilitiy. Even in tribal art, the artist's work is guided (often required) by the mores and sesnsabilities of the groups common views about art. And then art really isn't like the others. (In the following, i will use the word "tribal" to mean "attributes of a group of humans in ANY possible time Past/present/(future?) on any part of the planet Earth (see map). When we hear a tribal story teller talk about the ancestors, and some story we don't always know if we are listening to history, myth, or entertainment. We we watch a tribal danse, we know that what we are seeing is something created to give "voice" to the movements in and of themselves. And of course theatre (and we include film, recordings, etc) - which literally can encompass all other forms, and yet the structure of the space and the performers cue us to the fact that it IS a performance. As with all human things, certain cultural cues are taken up and incorporated into common practice. Thus, a mime who holds up their thumb at arm's length is *immediately* brings us "a artist". And so forth. So, how as artists do we dig into the other "art spaces" and bring those aspects of their practice into "our space"? That's the main problem. When is a work of "performance art" (single or group) different from theatre, musical performance, etc.? What are the "border-line" aesthetics of it? What can we hope to achieve, and how does relate to what we try to achieve "usually"? Onward, into the fog.

Mixed Media

(still images, puppets, maquettes, etc) (Listening to the "Nutty" album with John Coltrane (sax, natch) Thelonius Monk (playing something called piano forte - indeed his forte!) may help in understanding this section ) I take it as read the following: 1) We have all of the various technologies - including digital ones: But to be used in new/various ways traditional stuff - again new ways, etc (torn canvases, a canvas "on a stick" - used as finger puppet, maquette, etc, etc 2) We shouldn't be afraid to explore new ways of using new/old materials. Thus, we might use a canvas as a puppet (will the surgery be painful?) or mixing some nicely (professional) film clip (video/film/aud/game/cartoon/live-action/etc) with say a hand made sign or use of maquettes, etc, etc... 3) Don't be afraid if the story ISN'T CLEAR or that there might not be a "story" at all - this isn't commercial TV you know!! What if in the new "Transformers" film (always, been a fan of the theme song and of course even i've heard of "Optimus Prime") say all of a sudden they start knitting - yarn and all, maybe either some "chatter" - or in the B/G some jazz (Nutty? In Walked Bud? Popeye the Sailor Theme? etc, etc) and then they just all of a sudden with NO (yes, absolutely NONE) explantaion get back to their whole destructo/save-o thing (good/evil, action/adventure), etc. This gets back to John Cage's concerto for toy piano - it's not that it's strictly done for shock value (as might be argued about say Naim Jun Paik's "shampooing John Cage's hair" at the classical music concert). But, all of the BAGGAGE that we bring to the happening/event/etc thing. Also the fact that Leng Tan is playing the piano here (think Pink Floyd, Fifty Cent, Pavarotti, etc). This goes back to our old friends allographic (generic/copy) vs autographic (authentic/original) - when we hear a live/recording of say Thelonius Monk (esp in a live or at least un-edited studio) playing the piano then there's that *something* - the same way if say it's Lee Ann Harington doing an energy drawing then that differs from say Jim Dine, me, or gORAN, etc. Again going back our old friend "The Powers of Presence" (refer as usual to Robert Plant Armstrong's book of the same name, as well as "But it is Art?" and "Believing is Seeing" by the Dynamic Duo of Freeland and Stanzenski).... So, where are we anyway? The problem is that HOLLYWOOD/CABLE/SATELITE/ETC -- all want to sell us professional things - packaged, sealed, PERFECT - ie, mostly boring. So start looking at things ascance! Look at Weird Al's "UHF" or even Pee-Wee Herman's "PlayHouse" or "The Simpsons" or Saturday Night Live's "The Killer Christmas Trees". And of course the classic prototypes - Monty Python, Frank Zappa, Galliger, Marcell Merseau, etc. The problem is of course: Repetition is the death of art. But, on the other hand: We always vibe to repetition as the recognised. (insert McCrongle's cmcl here) gl'rimmib ?? where was i??? (there isn't anything on god's green earth that can't be changed_ START AGAIN


(pronuskiated: naw-may) Surrealistic transformations of the thing to create the cartoon character "Call an agent 24/7" so the secret agent (who is of course a master of disguise, so hence takes on *any* appearance -- but with "front of prop only" kind's of in-consistencies. Thurber: "And even i could tell from a distance of not less than 30 feet that a wolf in a sleeping gown looks less like your grandmother than does Calvin Coolidge..." He should know about rockets. He knows about everything. A bottle of Dr. Baud's Hair Tonic (picture of me, bald on the label) as a cartoon char - Mr. R. And of course Spikey and Blonkowitz (the SPAAAAACE CREATURES)

Performed ArtWorks (paintings, sculptures)

This topiv (pls excuse the typing the old gout has taken mostly my right arm; again - sheesh, at least this time i don't have an art show!! Anyway, let's say we're going to perform Edvard Munch's "The Scream" we could obviously "mock" the picture itself. And then we might mime thieves stealing it. But, of course we could use sound effects (Snd/FX), lights flasing, etc. And onto this could be layered, eg: 1) Edvard Grieg's music, a "Pipo" (stocking cap), and possibly even a bit of Henrik Ibsen's poetry (less well known; except for Peer Gyntt), or some of his plays; eg, "hedda Gabler". 2) Running in and out with streamers of paper with an arctic circle motif, fjords (natch), or perhaps the Monty Python standard - vikings. 3) any other textual stuff - brought in and crosss producted into other cultural things. 4) and of colurse anything absurd.

Performed Art: Elements

Cage's AB, AAABAABAAC, etc Patterns

These can be applied of course either as a primary layer: Obviously constructed Cards in promenant places that appear and then get covered up, only to re-emerge again - and of course with either the standard "rule of three" or any sort of progression. or intermittent: After an obvious pattern (eg, "pictures at an exhibition" by Modest Musorgski) or "the bull on the roof" by Darius Milhaud (pr: mee you), bring in a re-current theme. And of course "progress/evolution/devo-lution" can be used if the work involves extant time; eg, contrast the way that Stravinski's "Rite of Spring" is portrayed as a rite as such in "normal" performance with how it is used in Disney's "Fantasia" where the entire piece is laid down as a time-track against the history of "primitive" life as seen their rendering evolution. Similarly, noe the use of Beethoven's 1st symphony in the short aimation "Evolution". And then further in "The History of Evil" as featured in the (1980) film "Heavy Metal" by Cornelius Cole using our good friend Viktor Pendereski's music as the track. And of course if each element (or at least an actor/prop/scene/etc) has either themed music associated with it or possibly colour themes (eg, in fil version of Stephen King's "The Shinning" in the use of soft orange as "homey" and then blue/yellow as "madness"), then these can be juxtaposed and/or clashed/harmonised/etc.


Given that any element can have a look and feel (and we take it as read that if an element has different forms (eg, Jeckyl & Hyde) that their relationship is fixed (or not) - and our design of such alternate "states" establishes (or not) the connection via aud/vis/etc cues), then we can "tack on" other elements to an element and these become robust alternate views/sounds or behaviours of the element. If we "intrude" into the element some attribute or behaviour or prominent THING, then this becomes part of the element's "bag of tricks". An intrusions usually are interrupting to the element's "normal" behaviour/appearance/etc. Thus (eg, hicoughs) this becomes a destracting pattern (possibly of length one) that interrupts the normal "flow" of the element's STORY. Flanges are the catch all for things picked up along the way. Think of a flange as a flourish or a stylised "add on". We can think of this as the IVENTORY in adventure game as the player moves along the flow of the play. Obviously, such flanges can be usefull or merely distracting. In the limiting case a flange IS INTRUSIVE and thus can alter (even terminate) the element's performance. Note the use of this in "The Black Knight" in "Monty Python and The Holy Grail". Extensions are to the extent that two elements are merged or closely interracting; the most obvious example is, "and baby makes three". In adventure stories, as the team is built the different characters necessarily interact and thus INTER/WORK. Also, when a distinctive sub-element is introduced the normal behaviouristics of element are (often radically) altered. Thus, in RPG's (Roll Playing Games), when a player gains a major LEVEL then this can go far beyond a simple flange or intrusions. Thus, the extension of an element is often tied to a TRANFORMATION and especially in a REVEALING TRANSFORMATION of the element's capabilities, POV (Point of View), and behaviours, interactions, etc. Eg: Luke Skywalker exercising the first "feeling" for the force.