— Lucky Pierre, Actions for Chicago Torture Justice
Another potential use of the score which I’m increasingly interested in is in the realm of political activism. How might the performance writing form of ‘action’ expand beyond the recognizable activist performance model (scripts for street theater, etc.) and/or the much more militant and confrontational modes of direct action which are generally discussed in terms of efficacy (symbolic &/or material) rather than ‘as performance’ (as if the latter threatens to turn the political into the ‘merely’ aesthetic)?1
One recent example of new thinking along this continuum uses the instruction-art model to propose actions that range from the more conventionally confrontational political activism to ‘symbolic’ art-actions to the seemingly impossible/ ‘imaginational’2/ ‘unthinkable.’
I didn’t start reading or writing poetry until I was in my mid-twenties. I didn’t study avant-garde art or literary history/criticism until after college. I did, however, read Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit sometime during my John Lennon phase in junior high, so though I wouldn’t have known the word, I’d been fluxed to a certain degree. Though Grapefruit is, well, kinda hippy-cheesy, I do think that it ‘holds up’ as an exemplary model of a book that transcends its avant-garde context, something that (like Joe Brainard’s I Remember) achieves that rare mode that can be understood and mind-opening to kids and aged seen-it-all’s alike.