h1

made to break

07/20/10

i once did a performance in which i convinced people to destroy some ‘work’ i was ‘presenting’ to them.  imagine a crit but the student being critiqued breaks down in tears and passes around her various crappy creations begging her classmates to crush them.  i pressured my peers to rip to shreds hand drawn animation stills i had spent hours and hours creating (i really can’t draw).  i even got a few people to smash some little sculptures of birds that i had made (i really can’t sculpt).  i had made the animation for a class, but i loved it.  i was quite proud of the drawings and grew very attached to them over the many months they took me to make.  the birds i had crafted from some easy bake clay the night before.  watching the kids in my class destroy everything was really fun.  one girl cried and left the room, and some people refused to participate- but a few of them had a ball!  really let loose…   at the start of the next lecture, our professor told them that they had all been a part of the ‘artwork’ that i now needed to present for crit.  the girl who had left told me that i had manipulated and brutalized her then dropped the class.  most people seemed surprised but unenthused.  one girl asked what ‘performance art’ was.  another girl became my new best friend. that was the first and last time i realized an idea just as i’d hoped to …

anyway, i’ve been thinking of how precious all our installations have been and how fragile.  i’ve been thinking of all the times we have had to ‘fix’ or ‘secure’ or ‘reinforce’ … those activities are not nearly as fun as breaking!  i poked around on the internet, looking at artworks and performances and products that defy or invite breaking.  i often break stuff so stuff that’s made to be broken could be quite convenient for me…

i think this thing is a bit over-designed (and over-priced!) but i like the idea behind it, the fact that it comes with its own pick axe, and that it reminds me of our planetarium projector.maybe we could be more open to breaking this time.  we don’t have to require it or pressure people to do it but we could keep it in mind as a (not-necessarily-negative) possibility.  i mean, we use broken things all the time.  and the things we make break.  maybe i’m just lazy and tired of fixing (not that i’ve done even half the fixing!) … maybe i just want a new way to break or a new way to make the break a part of the process … and not a part we have to deny, disguise, cover up or correct.

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