ABSTRACT !e Spirit of Fluxus as a Nomadic Art Movement The Spirit of Fluxus as a Nomadic Fluxus was the brain-child of a Lithuanian-born artist named George Maciunas whose family "ed to Germany in the Second World War, where they eventually became displaced persons and later emigrated to the USA. Maciunas studied art Art Movement and architecture in Pittsburgh and New York before working as an architect and graphic artist and founded the Fluxus movement at the beginning of the 1960s. During his student years, he became fascinated by nomadic art in Asia and S. E. WILMER Eastern Europe that would later in"uence his life’s work. !is essay considers the relationship between his interest in nomadism and the nature of the Fluxus movement that spread across the world, breaking down barriers between art and life, privileging concrete and conceptual art, and staging unusual events. It applies Braidotti’s notion of the nomadic subject to Maciunas’ encouragement of radical styles of performance art, such as Yoko Ono’s minimalist conceptual work BRAIDOTTI’S NOMADISM the stateless, the immigrant and the migrant rather and Joseph Beuys’s Tatar-in"uenced use of fat and felt. In her book Nomadic Subjects (2nd Edition, 2011), than with those of $xed nationality. While the na- Rosi Braidotti outlines di#erent features of nomad- tion-state reinforces geographical borders and divi- Keywords: Maciunas, Fluxus, nomadism, Braidotti, Deleuze, Ono, Beuys. ism with which she identi$es. In this essay I want to sions and subjugates its citizens, the nomad subverts apply some of her ideas to Fluxus, an art movement these functions of the state. that emerged in the 1960s and which still continues !irdly, she subscribes to the Deleuzian dif- to function today. By presenting several ways that ferentiation between the divisible earth (in other Braidotti conceives the nomad and by relating these words, private property) and nomadic space, which to Fluxus, I plan to introduce various aspects of the belongs to everyone. !us, as a self-styled nomad, nomadic subject and indicate how these can be ap- Braidotti promotes the notion of common space plied to theatre and performance. rather than private property. Fourth, as someone In Nomadic Subjects, Braidotti discusses various who has adopted new languages as she has moved facets of her life that she regards as nomadic: from one country to another, she has been linguis- tically nomadic, writing in di#erent languages and 1. Geographic movement, translating her own work: “My work as a thinker, 2. Transnational identities, has no mother tongue, only a succession of trans- 3. Promoting common space, lations, of displacements, of adaptations to chang- 4. Polylingualism, ing conditions.”3 Fifth, in common with other 5. Desubjectivation, poststructuralist thinkers such as Luce Irigaray and 6. Becoming Minoritarian, Deleuze, she regards personal identity as something 7. !inking and acting di#erently. that is continually emerging rather than being $xed BIOGRAPHY and static and, like them, views the subject “as an First of all, geographically, she has moved from one entity fully immersed in processes of becoming, in S. E. Wilmer (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) is Professor Emeritus and former country to another: born in Italy, raised in Australia, productive relations of power, knowledge and de- Head of the School of Drama, Film and Music at Trinity College Dublin. educated in France, and now based in the Nether- sire”.4 Sixth, as a feminist and lesbian, she considers Recently he co-edited (with Audronė Žukauskaitė) Interrogating Antigone in lands. Secondly, as a person who has moved from her lifestyle choices as minoritarian. As opposed to Postmodern Philosophy and Criticism (Oxford University Press, 2010) and (with one nation-state to another, she maintains no $xed male, heterosexual majoritarian identity, she advo- Anna McMullan) Re'ections on Beckett (University of Michigan Press, 2009). sense of national identity and this has led to her “ac- cates the notion of becoming other, as well as the Earlier publications include: National !eatres in a Changing Europe (Palgrave, tive resistance against methodological nationalism concept of “yearning”, which the black feminist 2008), (with Pirkko Koski) !e Dynamic World of Finnish !eatre (Like, 2006), and a critique of Eurocentrism”.1 Heavily indebt- writer bell hooks de$nes as “an a#ective and politi- Writing and Rewriting National !eatre Histories (Iowa University Press, 2004), ed to her mentor Gilles Deleuze and his notion of cal sensibility that cuts across the boundaries of race, and !eatre, Society and the Nation: Staging American Identities (Cambridge the nomad as a revolutionary $gure in society,2 she class, gender, and sexual practice [that] could be fer- University Press, 2002). tile ground for the construction of empathy – a base sw[email protected] opposes the state apparatus, identifying more with
88 Nordic Theatre Studies vol. 26: no. 2 Nordic Theatre Studies vol. 26: no. 2 89 for solidarity and coalition”.5 Seventh, and perhaps weekends by a number of artists including himself. Europe and Japan and attracting artists from many the graphics for Mekas’s $lm magazine Film Cul- most importantly, she regards her work as concep- Many of the performances seemed silly or absurd countries to their ranks such as Joseph Beuys, Nam ture and later collaborated on performances with tually nomadic, as that of thinking di#erently: “!is to the audiences, such as Maciunas’ aleatoric use of June Paik, Yoko Ono, Ben Vautier and Vytautas Mekas at the Film-Makers’ Cooperative (where entails the creation of new frameworks, images and technology in In Memoriam to Adriano Olivetti, in Landsbergis (who later would lead the movement they encouraged Andy Warhol to make $lms) and modes of thought, beyond the dualistic conceptual which the performers reacted to the numbers arbi- for Lithuanian independence in the 1980s). With Film-Makers’ Cinamathèque. Although Mekas was constraints and the perversely monological mental trarily produced by an adding machine. “During the proliferation of activities, Maciunas designated an experimental $lm-maker, Maciunas was even habits of phallocentric thought.”6 performances of this piece, the musicians have to four regional headquarters for Fluxus in California, more radical in his use of $lm technology, such as read the numbers and respond to them in time to France, Denmark and Czechoslovakia. According to taping images onto the celluloid to experiment with a metronome, with prescribed reactions, usually Ken Friedman, who led Fluxus West (based in Cal- a new intermedial form in his $lm Artype (1966).16 GEORGE MACIUNAS AND THE FOUNDING OF raising and lowering a bowler hat.”8 !e press reac- ifornia), the twelve main characteristics of Fluxus Amongst many other events, Maciunas organ- FLUXUS tions to the initial Wiesbaden event, including a TV were: Globalism, Unity of Art and Life, Intermedia, ised a "ux-mass in the university chapel at Rutgers Having established some of the ways in which feature, were generally hostile, gleefully quoting the Experimentalism, Chance, Playfulness, Simplicity, University. !e Flux-mass in 1970 was a memorable Braidotti conceives herself as nomadic, I now want gra%tti plastered on one of their posters that “the Implicativeness, Exemplativism, Speci$city, Pres- performance that displayed Maciunas’ originali- to turn to Fluxus and discuss its status as a nomad- lunatics have escaped”.9 ence in Time, and Musicality.14 ty, sense of humour and novel uses of technology. ic art movement by applying these features to their To make matters worse, some of the composers Maciunas maintained a database of the artists Geo# Hendricks, who taught in the art depart- work. However, I $rst want to give some back- of electronic music, who performed in the $rst con- associated with the movement and created an elabo- ment at Douglass College in Rutgers University, ground and basic information about Fluxus. It was cert, abandoned the festival after disagreeing with rate chart to indicate the in"uences on these individ- describes how Maciunas “researched the Catholic the brain-child of a Lithuanian-born artist named the artistic aims of Maciunas and other artists.10 ual artists. Amongst those that Maciunas identi$ed Mass, studied its structure and traditions, careful- George Maciunas. When he was a child, his family More Fluxus concerts followed in quick succession as creative in"uences on Fluxus were the Dadaists, ly examined all the parts and developed humorous "ed to Germany in the 1940s when Lithuania was in 1962 and 1963 in Copenhagen, London, Paris, Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, and the Happenings interpretations for each. !e priest’s assistants wore occupied and lived as displaced persons in Germany Dusseldorf, Amsterdam, Nice, and later in Prague, of Allan Kaprow. Like the Dadaists, Fluxus adopted gorilla costumes, and the front of the priest’s vest- for a few years after the war before settling in the Warsaw, and Vilnius. Maciunas moved back to New an anti-bourgeois aesthetic and the idea of nonsen- ments varied from images of Napoleon to the Venus USA. Maciunas studied art and architecture in New York, which became its centre of activities, from sical and absurd artworks. Like Duchamp, Fluxus de Milo to George Washington… !e sacramental York and Pittsburgh before becoming an architect where he tried to provide performance as well as used the notion of the readymade, or found objects wine was in a plasma tank with hose. Wafers were and graphic designer. As a student he was clearly publishing opportunities for a variety of artists. that were given an artistic value. Like John Cage, laxative and blue-urine cookies. !e consecration of impressed by nomadic art works, taking copious Maciunas promoted the idea that Fluxus should who was loosely associated with the Fluxus move- the bread, a giant loaf $lled with sawdust, was done notes on nomadic art in Eastern Europe and Asia undermine the commercial value placed on art and ment and who used the I Ching to determine the se- by a mechanical dove (Holy Spirit) made by Joe as well as on European mythology. In 1960 he as- produce random, cheap, ephemeral, and frequently quence in some of his own pieces, Fluxus applied a Jones which moved across overhead on a wire and sociated with artists interested in the radical forms comical art works and events. He proposed break- radical approach that featured prepared pianos and dropped mud from a can onto the loaf… An in"at- of new music while attending music classes at the ing down the barrier between arts forms and be- other altered musical instruments as well as aleatoric ed Superman $lled with wine was ‘bled’.”17 One of New School for Social Research taught by Richard tween art and life, and he declared that “everyone is methods (i.e., performances determined by chance the participants explained George Maciunas’s aims Maxwell, a former student of John Cage.7 an artist”.11 Maciunas did not like abstract art and such as Maciunas’ In Memoriam to Adriano Olivet- as “not just a joke but as a critical forum with deep At the end of 1960, Maciunas leased an art gal- instead encouraged concrete art. Di#erentiating be- ti). And, like the Happenings by Allan Kaprow and irreverence for the given order”.18 While the audi- lery at a prestigious venue on Madison Avenue and tween the two, he wrote: “Now in Music let’s say if others that were taking place contemporaneously, ence was amused, the church authorities were not 73rd Street in Manhattan. With his mother as re- you have [an] orchestra play, that’s abstract because Fluxus created surprising interventions in galleries, and “the chapel required an o%cial reconsecration ceptionist and secretary and using the name Fluxus the sounds are all done arti$cially by musical in- concert halls, and public spaces in which the audi- due to the protests of sacrilege”.19 for the $rst time, Maciunas exhibited the early work struments. But if that orchestra is trying to imitate ence often became participants. However, Maciunas Maciunas brought to Fluxus a somewhat total- of Yoko Ono as well as that of experimental music a storm say, like Debussy, or Ravel does it, that’s di#erentiated Fluxus events from Happenings, call- itarian approach, attempting on various occasions composers such as John Cage, La Monte Young, illusionistic now. It’s still not realistic. But if you’re ing Happenings “neo-Wagnerian operas” compared to purify the movement of extraneous in"uences or Jackson Mac Low and Dick Higgins. Unfortunately, going to use noises like the clapping of the audience to the quick and immediate Fluxus events.15 wayward personalities.20 He wrote, “such [a] front he ran out of money after only six months and had or farting or whatever, now that’s concrete.”12 Julie As Fluxus developed over the years, the events must constantly be purged of saboteurs & ‘devia- to declare the gallery bankrupt. During the follow- Henault further explains the notion of concrete art moved further away from the format of music con- tionists’ just like the communist party. Communists ing year, Maciunas escaped his creditors by taking a as follows: “Why paint a tomato? Just take the to- certs towards all kinds of performances, installa- would have long split into 1000 parts if they did job as an architect and graphic designer at a United mato and leave as it is! Concretism comes from life tions, performance art, experimental video and $lm not carry out the strict purges. It was the purge States Air Force base in Wiesbaden, where he or- itself, without any modi$cations.”13 as well as the unconventional packaging and distri- or FLUX that kept them united & monolithic.”21 ganised the $rst major international Fluxus event Although based in New York, the outreach of bution of artworks. Maciunas also worked closely Emmet Williams, who was expelled by Maciunas in September 1962 with concerts held over several Fluxus was international, staging events all over with a fellow Lithuanian, Jonas Mekas, providing from Fluxus, complained that Maciunas was trying
90 Nordic Theatre Studies vol. 26: no. 2 Nordic Theatre Studies vol. 26: no. 2 91 to link Fluxus with the communist party, against his ambitious plans and avoided creditors. In 1976 Moscow. Like “wandering minstrels”, they created the Kolkhoz or collective farm, spent much of the the wishes of other members of Fluxus. He com- hired thugs beat him up for not paying a bill and he events without much advance planning, deterritori- late 1960s and 1970s trying to create a communi- mented, “George, high-born friend of the proletar- su#ered a punctured lung, several broken ribs and alizing familiar artistic venues and creating surprise ty of artists who could collaborate on projects and iat, had a despotic way of silencing the opposition lost one of his eyes. Much of what Maciunas tried to and consternation wherever they went. Moreover, live in communal housing.32 In addition to graph- – the sacrament of excommunication, followed by achieve fell short of his goals and shortly before he many of the Fluxus artworks and events were phys- ic design, architectural work, organising as well as public denunciation – which he administered with died in poverty, he concluded in an interview about ically nomadic, moving through the landscape. For publicizing artistic events and performances, much a free hand when critics and ‘renegades’ within the the Fluxus movement: “We came out to be a bunch example, Robert Filliou carried his tiny art works in of his energy was devoted to providing communal Fluxus family, challenged his authority. !ere were of jokers.”26 his hat which he called Galerie Légitime. He would apartment buildings for artists in Manhattan, such so many purges, through the years, that most of us Perhaps George Maciunas’ most high-pro$le walk around the streets confronting people and ask- as in lofts and co-ops in SoHo, as well as creating were in e#ect outsiders looking in, a situation that event was a retrospective exhibition of Yoko Ono’s ing if they liked art. If they agreed, he would show possible places of artistic retreat in the United States in general provoked more laughter than tears.”22 work at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, them the art collection in his hat. Furthermore, like and abroad. While he initally promised funding for Impressed by the action of the white guards at the New York in 1971 that doubled as a peace demon- Maciunas, other artists were inspired by nomadic artists, he was unable to secure this and later sug- time of the Soviet revolution to destroy artworks, stration against the Vietnam War. Titled !is is Not peoples and lifestyles. Joseph Beuys, who claimed gested that they should maintain day jobs and adopt Maciunas also proposed actions of sabotage against Here, and advertised in a clever poster in which that he had been rescued by nomadic Tatars after his anti-professional attitudes, not taking their art too museums, galleries and theatres, and organised a Maciunas overlapped images of Ono’s and John plane was shot down during the war, and had been seriously, emphasizing its social purpose rather picket of a concert by Stockhausen in New York in Lennon’s faces, it also featured Lennon as a guest revived by their use of fat and felt to heal his body, than its aesthetic elements. He also recommended 1964, though he found little support for such activ- artist as well as art work from other artists. It attract- featured these materials in his artwork for many the anonymity of the artist and promoted collec- ities amongst his associates.23 ed a peace camp of 5000 people as well as celebrity years such as in his I Like America and America Likes tive artworks, though he was not always consistent !us, although it was such a revolutionary move- guests at the opening, such as Ringo Starr, Andy Me (1974) in which he lived with a coyote in a New in this, sometimes crediting artists with their own ment that some of its a%liates called it a non-move- Warhol, John Cage, Bob Dylan, and Jack Nichol- York art gallery for three days. In some of these per- copyright and often creating Fluxkits (which were ment,24 Fluxus was clearly led but only partially son and was widely rumoured to be an occasion formances Beuys adopted the role of a shaman, con- similar to Duchamp’s La Boîte-en-valise) devoted to controlled by Maciunas. As the other artists were all to bring the Beatles back together again.27 Despite ducting mysterious ceremonies. In this event with the work of individual artists. radical in their practice and unwilling to be mould- its success, Maciunas managed to upset Yoko Ono the coyote, he projected a strong link with indig- Fourth, as Fluxus artists of many nationalities ed into a single way of doing things, Maciunas ap- by billing himself as the designer of the exhibition enous practices, refusing to step on American soil created events in di#erent countries across Europe, peared like a herder of cats rather than sheep. Much rather than as producer and for mismanaging the $- when he arrived in New York and asked to be taken these were performed in a variety of di#erent lan- to his chagrin, his associates could easily desert him nances. Yoko Ono wrote Maciunas a six-page letter directly from the plane to the gallery. guages. Moreover, the works themselves were adapt- and perform in rival events or publish their work in setting out her complaints “for padding the bills, Second, Fluxus was also nomadic in subverting ed to the particular circumstances and their execu- alternative publications. While always working for [and] by taking more credit than you should”.28 national boundaries and promoting the notion of tion depended on the individual artists who were what he considered to be the good of the group, Maciunas was upset by Ono’s complaints and left transnational identities. Ken Friedman proposed available to present them. !us, the same artistic he was unable to provide a coherent programme the exhibition in a hu#, refusing to communicate a Passport to the State of Flux and Beuys found- works could change considerably from one event or means of support or maintain a consistent set of with her for the next $ve years.29 ed what he called the state of Eurasia in 1967 as to another. According to Owen Smith, “Fluxus be- artists. According to Owen Smith, “Fluxus became well as a Free International University. Beuys, who came a shifting group based around a core of works a shifting group based around a core of works that joined the Fluxus movement with great enthusiasm that were constantly being added to and changed were constantly being added to and changed as art- FLUXUS AS NOMADIC in 1963 and attributed all his artworks from 1947 as artists and performers did or did not participate ists and performers did or did not participate with I now want to turn to Fluxus as a nomadic art to the movement, even though it had only existed with the group”.33 the group”.25 While Maciunas tried to persuade the movement, applying the concepts of nomadism for a couple of years,30 wrote about Fluxus, “[t]he Fifth, as their name implies, the forms and con- artists to grant him the exclusive right to publish that Braidotti uses. One can see that geographical- importance of our relationship – and this was the ventions of Fluxus were in "ux, developing and their future works, few of them agreed. Moreover, ly Fluxus was nomadic in moving freely from one fundamental motivation of the entirety of the Flux- changing over the years. Fluxus artists tried out new Maciunas was constantly over-estimating what he country to another, setting up regional headquarters us movement – lay in the way we were involved in techniques and technologies as well as new rela- could deliver and what he could a#ord. He relied in San Francisco, Prague, Nice, and Copenhagen. developing something for the future, something tionships with audiences. Consequently, their iden- on the cooperation of fellow artists who were also Although Maciunas tried to censure and control that was directly connected to human society… the tity as a group was hard to de$ne and constantly mostly impoverished and frequently let him down. many of the artists, ultimately he was unable and form that Fluxus was trying to promote was $rst of emerging. Maciunas tried to label the artists with He was also plagued by ill-health and was conse- increasingly reluctant to do so. !us, the movement all a form of openness”.31 the anonymous name of Fluxus in an early attempt quently unable to meet deadlines. Maciunas never grew rhizomatically to include many types of artists !ird, Fluxus promoted the idea of communal at desubjectivation, (though compared to Braidot- seemed to have much money and was extremely from all over the world engaging in many artforms. space rather than private property. Maciunas, for ti, who takes desubjectivation for granted, he didn’t frugal with his personal expenses and eating habits. In the early 1960s, they staged events all over Eu- example, who was inspired by the agricultural co- go very far in this direction). He collaborated with He was continually running into debt because of rope, starting in Wiesbaden and traveling as far as operative movement in Lithuania and the notion of many kinds of innovative artists such as Nam June
92 Nordic Theatre Studies vol. 26: no. 2 Nordic Theatre Studies vol. 26: no. 2 93 Paik who used multiple television monitors simulta- ment must be simple, amusing, unpretentious, nos, electronic music, video, and $lm. Sometimes iconography including co%ns with “"ux” written neously and experimented with complicated video concerned with insigni$cances, require no skill or they involved the dismembering or destruction of on them as well as many allusions to Joseph Beuys, and sound e#ects, such as in Cello TV with Char- countless rehearsals, have no commodity or insti- musical instruments such as pianos and guitars (as such as the dead hare. !e performance served as a lotte Moorman, who was later arrested in one of his tutional value.”37 Moreover, from the early 1960s, in Maciunas’ Piano Piece No 13, also known as the requiem to himself in his $nal days of dying of can- performances for being half naked. Maciunas also Fluxus made some tentative moves towards chal- Carpenter’s Piano Piece, that featured the hammer- cer. In the performance, he put x-rays of his diseased encouraged Richard Foreman in his $rst produc- lenging the social norms concerning gender, ethnic- ing of nails into the keys of a piano). Still other lungs above the altar in place of sacred images and tions for his Ontological-Hysteric theatre company, ity, and sexual practice. !ey presented the work of works were more perplexing and barely comprehen- invoked images of personal sacri$ce as he mixed im- using live actors interacting with live and recorded African American and Asian artists and, although sible, such as Joseph Beuys’s How to Explain Pictures ages of the cruci$xion with his own struggle against video.34 Foreman remembers the late 1960s as form- they were mostly male artists, the number of female to a Dead Hare (1965), that seemed to have spiritu- death. At the climax of the service, when Schlin- ative for his subsequent career, “[b]asically, Mekas performers (including Shigeko Kubota, Yoko Ono, al overtones as he walked around the gallery space gensief himself is conducting the eucharist, he inter- and Maciunas were my two gurus… !ey taught Charlotte Moorman, Carolee Schneeman, Mieko cradling the dead hare in his arms and talking to it rupts the ceremony by shouting “Fluxus”. me how to make my own way in the world.”35 Shiomi, and Alison Knowles) was “unprecedent- about the pictures on the walls. !e signi$cance of One of the most innovative aspects of Maciunas’ Some of the performances by Fluxus artists took ed” for the time. 38 Furthermore, Fluxus supported the dead hare was unclear but it seemed to have had work was his encouragement of a minimalist style on the dimension of a ritualistic act, such as Car- early examples of feminist corporeal performance something to do with the notion of the sacredness of conceptual art. Yoko Ono was a key contribu- olee Schneeman’s Meat Joy which she described as art, as well as gay $lms and early forays into per- of the natural world, which was in danger of being tor to this minimalist style from the early days. Her “an erotic rite – excessive, indulgent, a celebration formances of gender identity. Maciunas, who liked destroyed by mankind and needed protection, cul- works were simple, contemplative and frequently of "esh as material: raw $sh, chicken, sausages, wet to cross-dress in private, organised a novel wedding tivation and resurrection. Beuys revealed that: “For consisted of a single phrase meant for contempla- paint, transparent plastic, ropes, brushes, paper ceremony in 1978, in which he and Billie Hutch- me the Hare is a symbol of incarnation, which the tion rather than performance, such as her LAUGH scrap. Its propulsion is towards the ecstatic – shift- ing, dressed in normal wedding attire, undressed hare really enacts – something a human can only do PIECE “keep laughing a week”, COUGH PIECE ing and turning among tenderness, wildness, preci- and swapped their clothes in front of the audience. in imagination. It burrows, building itself a home in “keep coughing a year”, CITY PIECE “walk all over sion, abandon; qualities that could at any moment However, by contrast with Braidotti’s nomadism, the earth. !us it incarnates itself in the earth: that the city with an empty baby carriage”, and EARTH be sensual, comic, joyous, repellent. Physical equiv- Fluxus did not go very far in celebrating queer, alone is important.”40 PIECE “listen to the sound of the earth turning”. alences are enacted as a psychic imagistic stream, in transgender or subaltern identities, and the group !e work of Fluxus has continued to inspire Simplicity and humour had always been one of the which the layered elements mesh and gain intensity was mainly dominated by men. artists today and their in"uence has been particu- signi$cant aspects of Fluxus, with Maciunas recom- by the energy complement of the audience.”36 Also Lastly, Fluxus was conceptually nomadic, think- larly noticeable in the work of the German director mending such pieces as George Brecht’s Symphony Herman Nitsch’s Action of the Orgies-Mysteries ing di#erently as well as performing and creating Christian Schlingensief, who organised "ux-masses no. 3, on the 'oor in which the “orchestra sits on edge !eater used the bloody parts of animal carcases in di#erently, breaking down the boundaries between such as in his promenade performance of Church of of chair, conductor enters, give signal, orchestra falls order to create disturbing images of physical slaugh- the art world and the real world, presenting new Fear on a $ve-day march from Köln to Frankfurt. to the "oor, by slipping down from chairs”. 42 ter with religious overtones of Christian sacri$ce. forms of materiality and ways to use the body, and !is nomadic event was designed to contradict nor- In conclusion, Fluxus was a nomadic art move- Sixth, Fluxus was nomadic in conceiving of art stimulating socio-political transformation through mative discourse about the “war on terror”, suggest- ment that developed in the 1960s and spread rhizo- not as a rari$ed endeavour but as proletarian and as provocative acts. Movement, or what Joseph Beuys ing that people did not need politicians or priests or matically across the globe. Although, as its self-pro- a natural form of work that anyone could do and called Bewegung, was the only force that Beuys religion to scare them and that they could deal with claimed chairman, he tried to steer and control it, that was freely accessible. In so doing, they were considered “capable of dismantling the repressive their fears by openly voicing them to each other. George Maciunas was never really able to do so and adopting a minoritarian and iconoclastic position e#ects of a senile social system that continues to tot- When the procession arrived in Frankfurt and it developed a life of its own with many nomad- that ran counter to social norms and attitudes in the ter along the death line”.39 Fluxus pieces were often Schlingensief staged a ‘mass’ and ‘last supper’ in an ic features that continue to this day. When Maci- art world. In characterising the Fluxus movement, social events that might happen anywhere – in a old tram depot as a church, a journalist comment- unas died of cancer in 1978 at the age of 45, his Maciunas di#erentiated the role of the normal pro- concert hall or gallery, in the streets, or in someone’s ed on the a#ect of this novel con"ation of religion Fluxus friends organised a funeral with four co%ns fessional artist from the Fluxus non-artist. He ex- "at or bedroom. Some of the pieces were very sim- and theatre on her and other members of the au- for George Maciunas, all of them empty, thus com- plained: “To justify [the] artist’s professional, para- ple and straightforward like Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece dience: “!ereby Schlingensief breaks loose whole memorating him with his own bizarre sense of hu- sitic and elite status in society, he must demonstrate (1965), where she knelt on the "oor beside a pair chunks from the ancestral Christian catholic litur- mour at the end of his life. [the] artist’s indispensability and exclusiveness, he of scissors and invited members of the audience to gy and puts them into his own images. By placing must demonstrate the dependability of [the] audi- cut pieces from her clothes and Shigeko Kobota’s these symbols in a totally di#erent context he gets to ence upon him, he must demonstrate that no one Vagina Painting (1965), where she attached a red the core of them. !at’s amazing. Found your own but the artist can do art.” In contrast to the normal soaked paint brush to the crotch of her underpants church and vote for yourself. Your fear is yours.”41 professional and specially-trained artist, Maciunas and painted red marks on the paper by moving her In one of his $nal works, Kirche der Angst vor described the work of Fluxus as non-professional body. Other performances entailed the innovative dem Fremden in Mir, which he called a Fluxus Or- and something that anyone could do: “Art-amuse- use of various technologies, such as prepared pia- atorium, Schlingensief used Fluxus imagery and
94 Nordic Theatre Studies vol. 26: no. 2 Nordic Theatre Studies vol. 26: no. 2 95 NOTES AND REFERENCES Approaching the Living !eatre, Happenings/Fluxus and 41 “Damit bricht Christoph Schlingensief ganze Brocken aus 1 Rosi Braidotti, Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sex- the Black Arts Movement, University of Michigan Press, der ur-christlich-katholischen Liturgie und setzt sie in sein ual Di(erence in Contemporary Feminist !eory, Colum- Michigan 2005, p. 188. eigenes Bild ein. Er entkernt jedes dieser Symbole auf das, bia University Press, New York 1994 [Second Edition 21 Smith, op. cit., p. 16. was sie in einem artfremden Bau noch bedeuten können. 2011], p. 7. 22 Mr. Fluxus, op. cit., p. 9. Das ist stark. Gründe deine eigene Kirche und wähle dich 2 See for example Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, No- 23 See Smith, “Developing” in op. cit., pp. 10-11. Maci- selbst. Deine Angst gehört dir.” Catherina Gilles, Kunst madology: !e War Machine, Semiotext(e), New York unas and Henry Flynt picketed a concert of Karlheinz und Nichtkunst: das !eater von Christoph Schlingensief, 1986. Stockhausen’s Originale at Judson Hall in New York in Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2009, p. 72 3 Braidotti, op. cit., p. 21. 1964, but most other Fluxus associates were highly criti- 42 Quoted in Kellein, op. cit., p. 102. 4 Ibid., p. 17. cal of this action. 5 Ibid., p. 22. 24 Emmett Williams referred to it as a “non-movement”. 6 Ibid. Mr. Fluxus, op. cit., p. 9. Owen Smith has argued: “!is 7 Roslyn Bernstein and Shael Shapiro, Illegal Living, Jonas reality – that Fluxus arose out of circumstances rather Mekas Foundation, Vilnius 2010, p. 38. than as the product of a predetermined strategy – is part 8 !omas Kellein, !e Dream of Fluxus: George Maciunas: of the reason why many have rejected and continue to An Artist’s Biography, Edition Hansjörg Mayer, London reject the idea that Fluxus was a movement at all.” Smith, and Bangkok 2007, p. 43. op. cit., p. 6. 9 Ibid., p. 65. 25 Ibid., p. 9. 10 See Owen Smith, “Developing a Fluxable Forum: Early 26 Quoted in Kellein, op. cit., p. 9. Performance and Publishing” in !e Fluxus Reader, Ken 27 George Harrison had also planned to attend the open- Friedman, ed., Academy Editions, Chicester, West Sus- ing. sex 1998, p. 8. 28 See Kellein, op. cit., p. 123. 11 See, for example, Ken Friedman, “Fluxus and Company” 29 Bernstein and Shapiro, op. cit., p. 174. in !e Fluxus Reader, ibid., p. 247. 30 Kellein, op. cit., p. 67. 12 Melanie Hedlund, Gilbert Silverman, Jon Hendricks, 31 Quoted in Mr. Fluxus, op. cit., p. 6. Fluxus etc. Addenda 1, Inc. &, New York 1983, p. 20. 32 In 1966, he issued a manifesto with Henry Flynt called 13 Julie Henault, “From America to Lithuania: !e For- Communists Must Give Revolutionary Leadership in Cul- tunes of the Development of the Fluxus Movement in a ture to promote cost-e%cient and durable housing and Post-Communist Country”, maitrise, 2005, p. 22. in the later 1960s, he developed co-ops for artists in 14 For a discussion of these characteristics, see Friedman, SoHo in Greenwich Village. “Fluxus and Company”, op. cit., pp. 244-51. 33 Smith, op. cit., p. 9. 15 Harry Stendhal, !e Avant Garde: From Futurism to 34 Bernstein and Shapiro, op. cit., pp. 90-8. Fluxus, Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center, Vilnius 2007, p. 35 Ibid., p. 90. 156. 36 Quoted in Meat Joy by Carolee Schneeman in Electronic 16 Liutauras Psibilskis, Jonas Mekas / !e Fluxus Wall, Cen- Arts Intermix, http://www.eai.org/title.htm?id=14751 tre for Fine Arts, Brussels 2013, p. 135. (accessed 23 December 2014). 17 Mr. Fluxus. A Collective Portrait of George Maciunas 37 Quoted in Mr. Fluxus, op. cit., p. 18. 1931-1978, Emmett Williams, Ann Noel, eds., !ames 38 “Fluxus developed in the decade leading up to the and Hudson, London 1997, p. 248. women’s movement, and the prevalence of female par- 18 Ibid., p. 249. ticipants in its diverse activities was unprecedented.” 19 Ibid., p. 250. Moma website, http://www.moma.org/interactives/ex- 20 For example, Maciunas expelled Schneeman from hibitions/2010/womenin"ux/ (accessed 3 April 2014). Fluxus for her performance of Meat Joy, which showed 39 Caroline Tisdall, Art into Society, Society into Art, ICA, performers writhing on the "oor amidst bloody animal London 1974, p. 48. parts from a local butcher’s shop, “citing her work’s op- 40 Volker Harlan, Rainer Rappmann, Peter Schata, Soziale erative scale and expressionistic excesses”. Mike Sell, Plastik: Materialien zu Joseph Beuys, Achberger Verlag, Avant-Garde Performance and the Limits of Criticism: Achenberg 1984, p. 92.
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