Reading Aloud the Score to Burbank
Rather than mix these thoughts in with the previous post's documentation of Burbank, I thought I'd post an addendum. Since the Allan Kaprow retrospective has been on tour, several of his scores have been 'reinvented' in conjunction with the show. Here is a slide show of Fluids created indoors in Italy. The same piece was reinvented by Cooper Union students for last year's Performa 07 at the Whitney. There's a great description of the reinvention here, along with some of the necessary conversation that surrounds the recreation of a Happening:
I had project managed Performa>07’s presentation of ’18 Happening in 6 Parts’, where a stage designer had been hired to rebuild the original 1959 loft space the event had happened in– from the original photos (1,000 square feet of mdf had a variable flooring pattern ripped into it on a table saw to replicate the original floors in the documentation). It’s a short step from there to making costumes from the 50’s and 60’s and rehearsing period accents. The result would be a contrived fidelity – a forced verisimilitude. It would be equivalent to a word-to-word computer translation that literalizes and flattens the language, losing syntax and meaning along the way.
Pix of Leafy Branch Fixed to One Without
Diane Calder sent me a timely news story about Polaroid's closing of their instant film factories.
Polaroid is closing factories in Massachusetts, Mexico and the Netherlands and cutting 450 jobs as the brand synonymous with instant images... ...Polaroid instant film will be available in stores through next year, the company said -- after which, Lee said, Japan's Fujifilm will be the only major maker of instant film.As technology rolls on this sort of "contrived fidelity" becomes more and more difficult. Though we brought out a couple Polaroid cameras with film, we also riffed on the theme and incorporated new technology: The ubiquitous cell phone camera came into service as a mode of instant representation, which I expect will one day join Polaroid as a dinosaur technology.
Leafy Branch (Bird of Paradise) Fixed to One Without
By leaving campus and it's weight of history, our field trip to Deep End Ranch allowed us the opportunity for mindful play, a vital aspect of Kaprow's practice. A no-longer functioning windmill became a representation of a leafless branch, which underscores Jeff Kelly's thoughts of Burbank:
More interesting to Kaprow, though, was the question of what is real. Where the plastic leaves less real than the leafy branches to which they were fixed? Where the photographs not real things too?
...In a sense, such questions where themselves mutations, philosophical outgrowths of the many acts of "grafting" that composed this work. All equally unanswerable, they constituted a parody of the utopian strain of science that seeks to improve life by breeding out its imperfections.
Here we were in an orchard composed of genetically identical citrus, grafted on the root stock of another plant. Kelly continues:
Kaprow was interested in the screw-ups, so he designed a system that was as elaborate as iambic pentameter to optimize them.Likewise David Bunn and Ellen Birrell have allowed a similar process to take place at Deep End Ranch, with bud mites transforming commercially acceptable lemons into something resembling Buddha's Hand; root stock suckers are allowed to grow, expressing their own genetic imperfections.
Deep End Ranch Fire Pit
For me personally, the next step will involve the mutation of this score, and the incorporation of elements into my own practice. Stay tuned.