In a world that really has been turned on its head, truth is a moment of falsehood.
Guy Debord

Every word I say contributes to the lie of art.
—La Monte Young

If a 6 turned out to be 9, I don’t mind.
                  —Jimi Hendrix


Music is the appropriation art form par excellence.  It quotes, varies, remixes, mashes-up; it re-uses, revises and repurposes.  Further, it is caught in a continual process of re-coding its basic formal structures:  its modes of syntactic and economic organization, its means of technological mediation and transmission, its ways of staging collectivity and community.  For better or worse, however, this fluidity has not saturated the underlying structures relating the musical text to its author(s), the authority, for example, that allows for the very idea of a “correct” or “proper” performance of a piece of music.  The familiar death proclamations concerning authorship seem to have never set sail in the musical domain.  What ever happened to the death of the composer? 

While the answer to that question may seem mostly of interest to musicians, the politics of musical authorship has important implications for other art forms as well.  UPENDINGS DERISIONS TRANSCRIPTIONS is a program of performance works and interventions by contemporary artists, along with historical works taken from Fluxus, video art, performance art, experimental choreography and music.  The program addresses a unique set of dynamics concerning the musical-performative event:  history and immediacy, passivity and spectacle, narcissism and voyeurism, listening and spectatorship, coercion and submission, authorship and authority.  Including citations, cover versions, violations, (non-)realizations, mash-ups, and re-imaginings of/by G. Douglas Barrett, Rozalinda Borcila, John Cage, Philip Corner, Chris Cuellar, Dan Graham, Jimi Hendrix, Hana van der Kolk, Adam Overton, and La Monte Young.  Performed by G. Douglas Barrett, Chris Cuellar (while in Chicago), and Hana van der Kolk (in Amsterdam).


(authorship is approximated as a constellation of contributors/sources)

Guitar Activities or Axes of Evil: Bored as Fuck (BARRETT/CORNER/HENDRIX/LEUNG)


Performer/Audience/20’00”(4’33”)+Touch Solo Petting Zoo1/Skype2+Twitter3 mirror
                  1The audience is invited to approach and touch the performer.                 
                  2 van der Kolk’s real-time choreographic descriptions of the audience are heard directly in front of the gallery.
                  3 Cuellar’s textual descriptions of the sounds of the performance space can be accessed during (and following) the performance by following his Twitter feed at <twitter.com/yoursmt>.

Domesticated Thing or Composition (Sacrifice) 2011 #5, #2 (WASP) (BARRETT/YOUNG/HENDRIX)


Guitar Activities (continued) or If $ Was $ (BARRETT/CORNER/HENDRIX)
                  The remains of the guitar are silently auctioned.


Enjoyment Obligation Oblongata (BORCILA)
                  Instructions to the audience from Borcila:
                  Enjoy the performance!
                  The audience member who enjoys the most, wins.
                  Payment consists of full intellectual property rights to the performance.
                  Thank you for your cooperation. 

photo credit: Christy Pessagno


G. DOUGLAS BARRETT is an artist whose work is dedicated to re-articulating music as a critical art form. Drawing equally from the contemporary gallery arts and the performing arts traditions, he has exhibited, performed, and published throughout North America and Europe. Venues have included the Incubator Arts Project (New York), Diapason Gallery (New York), the Wulf (Los Angeles), Theater Perdu (Amsterdam), Universität der Künste Berlin, Phoebe Zeitgeist Teatro (Milan), the Sonic Arts Research Centre (Belfast, UK) and Neutral Ground (Regina, Canada); festivals include the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), Ostrava Days (Czech Republic), Wandelweiser Festspiel (Düsseldorf), Visiones Sonoras (Mexico City), CEAIT Festival (Los Angeles). In 2009 Barrett received a DAAD grant to Berlin. He has obtained degrees from CalArts (MFA, 2006) and SUNY at Buffalo (Ph.D., 2010). His writings include essays published in the interdisciplinary literary journal Mosaic (U of Manitoba) and Contemporary Music Review, along with “A Text Score Manifesto” in John Lely and James Saunders’ forthcoming book Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation (New York: Continuum, 2011).

ROZALINDA BORCILA is a Romanian artist currently based in Chicago. Her video, installation and performance work attends to the material and subjective spaces of power, security as a condition, and the ways in which the aesthetic is mobilized within the circuits of capital. Selected exhibitions include: Frieze Art Fair (London); Museum of New Art (Detroit); Watson Institute (Brown University); Nickle Arts Museum (Calgary, Canada); Vector Gallery, Iasi (Romania), Salon Y Coloquio Internacional De Arte Digital Havanna (Cuba), several venues in the Occupied Territories of Palestine. She is also engaged in several autonomous collectives, seeking ways to develop and sustain shared capacities for radical imagination and action. 

CHRIS CUELLAR is a sound and digital media artist currently based in Chicago. His work explores the ongoing radical transformation of culture by technological trends in social networking and information distribution. Recent works have been shown at the Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago), the Sullivan Galleries (Chicago) and Diapason Gallery (New York). Excerpts from a new print project derived from the Facebook public directory will be on display at the Betty Rymer Gallery in Chicago for the month of February. Other ongoing works and net-related projects can be found online at <yoursmountain.com>.

ADAM OVERTON is a composer and performer of experimental music and action, and an artist, teacher, and massage therapist based in Los Angeles. He is the curator of the currently in progress subtle bodies series, a series of investigations featuring subtle, barely-noticed experiments in sound, movement, action, and energy within public spaces, led by artists, performers, choreographers and sound artists. In 2008 Overton founded uploaddownloadperform.net, an online repository designed for the exchange of experimental performance scores.

HANA VAN DER KOLK was based in New York (2001-2005), Los Angeles (2005-2010) and currently works throughout the U.S. and Europe. Her choreographic projects combine elements of conceptual practice with postmodern choreography and take place in a wide range of sites, including the stage, studios and galleries, in writing, on film, and in outdoor public spaces. She is highly influenced by legendary post-modern choreographer Deborah Hay whose work she learned and adapted for stage, film and city parks from 2000-2006. Hana has collaborated with Layard Thompson, Carolina San Juan, Emily Mast, Sara Juli, My Barbarian, Robby Herbst and with Jesse Aron Green on Ärztliche Zimmergymnastik, a video installation shown at The Tate Modern (London), in the 2010 Whitney Biennial and at Halle 14 (Leipzig). She has been a guest artist at centers and universities internationally and is a regular guest teacher at the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam. Van der Kolk holds an MFA in choreography from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures. More information is available at <hanavanderkolk.com>.