Saturday, May 30, 2009


I’d like to introduce myself: my name is Chris Burden and today, on this tape, I’m going to show you excerpts—visual excerpts—from 11 different pieces I’ve done starting in 1971 into 1974. Pieces have either been filmed on super 8, which is the most common, or 16… millimeter, or half-inch video and there’s one that’s actually a television ad that was taken off the air… as you watch this tape (and listen to my explanation for some of the pieces) I want you to remember that it doesn’t cover or encompass the whole body of my work, that you’re only seeing several very arbitrary selections. You’re not seeing the pieces that don’t lend themselves to being taped or filmed because of… purely technical reasons such as it’s too dark or it’s too far away or something like that… um… you’re not seeing the pieces that, that uh, don’t lend themselves to filming because… it’s not right—I didn’t want ‘em filmed… it didn’t make sense. Uh. There’s an exception to that, there’s uh, a bed piece which is, which you’re going to see in this tape, some excerpts from it: it’s a piece that involves staying in bed for 22 days without getting up. Um. We’ll see how successful that is, whether it can convey some of the energy and feelings that were going on during that piece and, uh… another reason is—that… I hadn’t attempted to film some of the pieces—is that, um, some of the pieces involve a one-to-one relationship where, with me and one other person are the audience and having a camera or, like, a person there would disturb the whole, whole setup and so it’s not possible. Um. Other than that, there are some piece that, that I’ve tried to film and haven’t, hadn’t been able to because there’s been a technical error—either on my part or somebody else’s—somebody forgot to push it, push the button…um, I couldn’t, I couldn’t concentrate, you know, give enough of my attention because I was very involved with the performance so you’re really seeing, what you’re going to see today, is a very arbitrary selection, um, so almost a, well, a haphazard selection of work, um, but, well, and another thing is that I’ve been, uh, hesitant to, to release these because of the, of the so arbitrary nature of how they come about, um, but, more than that, it’s because, um, film and tape are taken as reality while they’re being, while, while we, the viewer—or anybody—is watching them, uh, so, so, for the most part, I record most of my pieces with still photographs because they’re so, uh, old-fashioned that they’re very, they’re taken very abstractly, and they’re taken symbolically, um, but, uh, I guess at this time I, I feel that there’s maybe enough, enough, energy in the pieces—or in the films—that it’s important to show them and that some of it will filter through but, uh, I want you to try to—although I know a lot of you will forget it—to remain aware that you’re not seeing the actual experience…

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Transcript of the Description of a Scene from a Movie I Have Never Watched

Ok. So…so one of the opening scenes, right? So, uh, this hit man who’s supposed to be one of the best in the world, he’s going to an office building—this very plush office building—to find some kind of clue and so…he lets himself into this elaborate office and just walks in and this secretary sees him, immediately knows who he is and she’s all (makes a face) and he says, “don’t worry; if I wanted you dead you’d be dead already” and so she looks visibly relieved and so he’s standing at the window kind of looking out and then he looks over at her and something happens and it’s like WHOOOOP and she’s dead right there and so he did what most of us would do, he ran as fast as he could down the hall to the end of the hall to the elevator and starts tapping at the… at the elevator door waiting for the elevator to come. So I think “ok he’s going to leave the building and try to figure out who did it”… so he gets in the elevator finally and he turns around, he launches into, uh, like a runners stance and the camera goes into a close-up to his heel and his heel is back up against the elevator and the back of the elevator goes like KKKPHHHKKK because he’s pressing so hard and he takes off down the hallway, all the papers from the various offices are swirling like the leaves of autumn—except they’re white—and he bursts through the doors and… he is, at this point, traveling so fast that he bursts through the glass, yeah the glass wall, and while he’s bursting through the glass wall he’s all (mimes the motion of reaching for guns in holsters) …I don’t know why he cross… reaches into the… and his legs are going like NYEAA (hands imitate leg motion) In the air right? … to get…the thing is he’s trying, you know, to get to the other…the thing is, to get to the other side of the building, I mean, to the other building… and as he’s going he sees about four hit men who are all (mimes rifle stance) and he’s BOOOJ BOOOJ BOOOJ BOOOJ and then he starts to fall and I think “wow… that was, like, his last desperate act.” He actually falls on a ledge on the other building and there’s one hit man left who’s standing there going (mimes taking a drag from a cigarette and exhaling) like this and all of a sudden he’s like (mimes a bullet going through the back of his head) like that…the hit man had gone up here and around up the stairs through and shoots him and he’s standing there. At this point his phone rings “hello?” he’s having this conversation with his…what must be his nemesis… this is all back-story that we don’t know. And he says “if you wanted to take me out why didn’t you just come here and do it yourself, man-to-man?” and the camera… and what you hear is “the hit men were just bait” and then he looks down at his feet and he’s standing on an X at which point a bullet comes out of nowhere and shoots him right in the head and the… it shows where the bullet came from and it’s going like this across town to another part of the city where a guy is standing at his window with an unbelievable telescope and the phone and then he repeats what he said “the hit men were just bait” squeezes the trigger… follows the bullet in slow motion all the way to that guy’s head. Cut scene.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ongoing Project

May 2009……………………......……..…...……….. 1.875 lb.