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…

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