Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pocketbooks and Fish

Yesterday, my assistant, Daisy Morton found this slightly battered black and white print from 1969:

The score and another shot of this work are on my website.
On my FB page I wrote, "In 1969, I was the director & founder of the American Ritual Theatre in So. Calif. and this was a shot by Fred Lonidier of my performance work, "The Pocketpiece Piece," with Claudia Bader, Barbara Zakarian and myself in Claus Von Wendel's studio, Del Mar, CA. Unearthed by assiduous archival excavation thanks to Daisy Morton." 

That discovery wasn't the whole story.

  • After studying this image, I realized this performance version (one of many in Universities & colleges thruout Calif I performed then) was performed in the UCSD Art Gallery that same year. It was in that same period, that Pauline Oliveros & other faculty from the Music & Art Dept.'s asked me to start a Dance Dept there and John Stuart, the then provost, secretly threatened me with arrest if I was ever on campus again, because of my anti-war and pro-feminist speeches at rallies. I also created "Synapse Reality" and "Meat Piece" at this time. When Stuart threatened me, Newton Harrison urged me to go Angela Davis's route publicizing what happened and I did try by going to Stanley Grinstein in LA but I couldn't rally the support or my own conviction (I was 24 and somewhat naive). It was shortly afterwards that I met Allan Kaprow and started at Cal Arts, following another path in the woods.
  • I may have taken a different path forward after Stuart's threat, but this image and that performance bear on Fish Story and my current PhD writing because both are about layering unexpected data to discover new knowledge. In the case of the fish, what we need to pat attention to in our layering is not just the loss of the taxa, but all the small decisions globally and personally that result in this loss. What I layered in "The Pocketbook Piece," was the data on rape, divorce and trivia associated with a lipstick, an official paper in the unedited contents of a woman's secret recesses of her pocketbook. What I sought to layer in Fish Story, was the bioregional and international context and relationship to water of built infrastructure, radioactivity and fracking in the world. What I am attempting to layer in my dissertation, are all the ways we can address those systemic horrors.

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