I have been thinking since 2 years now of paying tribute to a 1964 Yoko Ono performance. In one of the city theaters, I will wear a painted dress, and ask spectators, each in turn, to cut a piece of this dress (made during the 72-hour performance). The cutting of the painted dress is intended as a pacific protest against all forms of violence anywhere in the world. Half the dress will represent human life, the other half, our environment.
“Now I wish that Yoko Ono will approve of the project,for me to realise a dream that I long have had thoughts for”.
Extracts of the early brainstorming communication that took place with Lebanese young student Ramzi Hibri:
excuse my tardiness, yesterday was very hectic.
so we have made a concrete decision that cutpiece is an interactive theatrical instillation with a choreographed sequence of events merging different media in adherence to the fluxus ideologies.
cutpiece revolves around the gradual shedding of whatever is covering the centerpiece, which would be you.
this shedding is in dedication to peace. in dedication to the process of destruction that humanity has engaged in, from which, as cutpiece proposes through the cutting, should emerge a pure and uncorrupted bieng, innocent in it’s nakedness whcih is represantative of it’s faith in humanity. to postpone our eventual demise, to embraced the harmony that very well could be, but isn’t.
the audience steps into a transformed space filled with a mass surrounding the centerpiece, blocking them from it. they are given cutting apparatuses and they are lead to destroy everything obstructing their path towards the centerpiece. this mass could be exaggerated extensions of the dress that you will be wearing; unto which various videos and photographs of humanity’s obscenities are projected, they could be written on the dress, drawn on it, even preformed upon it. i suggest that there be various actors surrounding the area, narrators who may suggest the message through various texts written by participating writers. the actors can run within the set as a medium to elevate tension or encourage the audience. interacting with the performers are musicians whose music, which is a sustained element in the play, will describe the sequence of events. it may begin with a dronish backdrop and then intensify with apocalyptic distorted noises and rapid percussions and finally end with harmonious pulsating strings and a melody in a major key.
i think you should be completely naked but seated in a fetal position (which will reduce your body’s exposure while reinforcing the element of innocence, the purity of what exists within the dress).
let’s discuss the logistics and design details as soon as you read this.
i already have various individuals in mind for certain positions in the piece.
im just proposing a general outline.
Extract from a review published about the last Cut Piece performance held in Paris by my favorite conceptual artist Yoko Ono:
“I” whispered thanks to my absent friend Phillip Ward—coeditor of the world poetry anthology Van Gogh’s Ear (www.frenchcx.com) that I edit here in Paris—for having told me about this top secret event in time to get on the guest list, I applauded long and loud enough for the both of us. Applause filled the theatre as the memory of Phillip’s 5th of September telephone call from New York City rang in my ears. The second he was sure I was me, he’d said, “Are you sitting down?” Something in his sonorous voice told me the news was too thrilling to send in an email. Earlier in the week, Phillip had asked Yoko Ono’s studio and production assistant, Robert Young, if he’d ask Yoko about contributing some work to our upcoming edition of Van Gogh’s Ear. It wasn’t long before Robert contacted Phillip to echo Yoko’s answer, her famous, “Yes.” Not only would she contribute several poems—but a few of her Franklin Summer drawings, too! This news hit me like a shot of some euphoric drug. Little did we suspect, when we began our small non-profit enterprise, that we’d be entrusted with the works of such great talents as Yoko Ono, Norman Mailer and Thich Nhat Hanh. My enthusiasm led to Phillip informing me more about Yoko Ono’s art and music, and to her mind-altering “Fluxus.”
I knew that John Lennon once said Yoko Ono was the world’s “most famous unknown artist. Everybody knows her name, but nobody knows what she does.” When Phillip mentioned Yoko being one of the founding members of Fluxus, I said, “What’s Fluxus?”
“Fluxus,” he offered, “began as a group of writers, musicians and artists organized by George Maciunas, whose 1963 Fluxus manifesto incites artists to—Here, I’ve got it right here: ‘purge the world of bourgeois sickness, intellectual, professional and commercialized culture…dead art, imitation, artificial art, abstract art, illusionistic art…to promote a revolutionary flood and tide in art, to promote living art, anti-art…non-art reality to be grasped by all peoples, not only critics, dilettantes and professionals.’ So they created an art form that was anti-elitist, anti-commercial. Utilizing readymade materials and experimenting with various art forms, they created something that was part Dada, part Bauhaus and part Zen.”
Phillip explained that over the last 40 years, Fluxus artists produced interesting installations and limited edition publications, teasing the mind in cartoon fashion, yet in a minimalist and philosophical manner, while encouraging thought and dissection. In her association with Fluxus, Yoko Ono staged performances in Japan, England, and the United States. She hosted art and music Happenings in her SoHo loft. While at the same time making films, composing music, and creating paintings and books. Even today, Yoko continues to execute Fluxus concepts and philosophies behind her art form.
“Her inventive sometime provocative game-like concepts and instructions encourage us to step over the boundaries of art’s constraints to construct art inside ourselves,” Phillip continued. “She brings to the mind a challenging concept: Trust. This is demonstrated clearly in her chess piece, titled Play it by Trust. All the pieces, including the checkered grid, are painted white. According to Yoko, white is the most conceptual color. Being a metaphor for light and transcendence, it doesn’t interfere with your thoughts.
“Yoko’s works are to be performed by a viewer or an audience member. Many to be performed only in the participant’s mind. These concepts also compliment Marcel Duchamp’s belief that art is only partly created by the artist and is completed by the spectator. Incidentally, Dada artist and philosopher Duchamp was himself an active Fluxus contributor and participant in many Fluxus ‘Happenings.’”
Phillip—saying that Yoko Ono is one of the most pioneering avant-garde artists of our time—then encouraged me to go experience her Women’s Room exhibit, on view at Paris’ Musée d’Art Moderne. He mentioned how, with patience and imagination, “Yoko’s art is as rewarding as it is demanding,” then added an idea that now fascinates me: “Transforming art into thought.”
I will pay tribute to a 1964 Yoko Ono performance. In one of the city theaters, I will wear a painted dress, and ask spectators, each in turn, to cut a piece of this dress (made during the 72-hour performance). The cutting of the painted dress is intended as a pacific protest against all forms of violence anywhere in the world. Half the dress will represent human life, the other half, our environment.