— 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.’
The third issue of Melbourne magazine Steamer — edited by Sam Langer — features a number of one line poems: my favourite is ‘rocker’ by Will Druce: ‘sssssstay onlike a roa deeeeeee afterrrrthash ow.’ It could be drunk, it could be the beginning of ‘Cherry Bomb.’ Neologisms like ‘onlike,’ ‘roa,’ and ‘afterrrrthash’ suggest a mutating rocker vernacular that gets more interrrresting the more the rocker thinks about what they’re saying.
Another poem from the issue, ‘token’ by Ella O’Keefe, is one that knows it was written on a keyboard (as much as the hands may remember ‘duck-egg formica’). It interrupts what becomes retrospective lyrical droning to jump up and want something a: ‘Fresh!/Fruit!/Shake!’ Three exclamations suspended by the question of wondering … Having energised the line and mood, new implausibilities may be murmured. We attend to mockery, then we’re collaged onto a tarmac. Single quotes turn into double: a successful ‘lawn-a-concept-centre’ date then.
when a rooster crows
the whole body is used
& it puts you back
in your own
This could be O’Hara with clipped wings or Williams with the strength reversed to the end.