For my final in Art 118 I decided to revist the film SE7EN, cutting it down to just over 5 min and running it over my own re – mix of “The Hearts Filthy Lesson” (the closing song in the film). I did this for the same reasons that David recorded the song. In class we were required to present reports on certain, pre-chosen, Extreme Performance Artists. I chose Chris Burden.
Chris was familiar to me because Bowie had written “Joe The Lion” for him on his 1977 album “Heroes”. I found him to be incredibly interesting. Not only did he have himself shot in a Museum and crucified to the hood of a VolksWagon, he put his own life in danger through isolation, deprivation and electrocution. He also endangered others, holding a knife to the throat of a female interviewer in his first “T.V. hijacking”, shooting a gun at LAX at an overhead 747 and shooting matchstick rockets at a woman lying on a bed of flammable paper.
Another Extreme Performance Artist was Marina Abramović
Rhythm 0, 1974
To test the limits of the relationship between performer and audience, Abramović developed one of her most challenging (and best-known) performances. She assigned a passive role to herself, with the public being the force which would act on her.
Abramović had placed upon a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use (a sign informed them) in any way that they chose. Some of these were objects that could give pleasure, while others could be wielded to inflict pain, or to harm her. Among them were a rose, a feather, honey, a whip, scissors, a scalpel, a gun and a single bullet. For six hours the artist allowed the audience members to manipulate her body and actions.
Initially, members of the audience reacted with caution and modesty, but as time passed (and the artist remained impassive) people began to act more aggressively. As Abramović described it later:
“What I learned was that… if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you.” … “I felt really violated: they cut up my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation.”
As mentioned in a previous post, in 1995 David Bowie and Brian Eno collaborated on a cd about Extreme Performance Art entitled “1.Outside”. A murder took place outside a museum. The question to ponder is…is it Art because a Museum was involved?
The song was lent to the film SE7EN to extend that question to it’s natural conclusion. Certain “Serial Killers” do what they do to draw attention to a cause they believe in. Great planning and skill goes into their “Performances”. The fact that they primarily hurt others is not entirely a cause for disqualification from the genre of Extreme Performance Art.
David is only asking questions, asking us to think…
The answers are to be supplied by you.