Fluxus Day

In collaboration with my colleagues, Fluxus artists Alison Knowles and Larry Miller, I was able to curate and organize Fluxus Day, a Fluxus event of unprecedented scale in Miami, as part of Subtropics 19 on March 3, 2007. The event had three components: 1. Fluxus On The Beach from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. across Lincoln Road and at the Beach sands of South Beach; 2. FL.ux.F.air from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the Arsht Center’s Plaza of the Arts; and 3. FluxEve beginning at 9:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theater at Adrianne Arsht Center in downtown Miami.

1 Fluxus on the Beach: [ 11AM-2PM ] A late-morning procession for a piano on wheels titled Piano Odyssey: A Trojan Horse, led by Alison and Larry that began at Artcenter ( 800 Lincoln Road ) with a rare performance of Albert Fine‘s 88 Notes, in which an article of clothing is removed for every note sounded on the keyboard.

88 Notes by Albert Fine
Performed by Larry Miller (clothing) and Alison Knowles (piano)
Fluxus On The Beach, Subtropics 19, Lincoln Road (Miami Beach)

Dedicate to the late Miami Beach resident and Fluxus veteran Nam June Paik, the trek continued all the way east to the sands of Miami Beach, pausing several times along the way for piano performances of selections from George Maciunas12 Compositions for Nam June Paik (1962) as well as classic event scores by Ichiyanagi, Andersen and Patterson and others at populous random stops along the way.

Music for Piano No5 (1961) by Toshi Ichiyanagi
performed by Alison Knowles and Larry Miller, darts

Once on the beach, the event continued with Two World Premieres: Shoreline by Alison Knowles which consists of piecing together articles of clothing to create a long straight line along the shore with the aid of a sewing machine …

Shoreline (2007) by Alison Knowles
Event Score:
connect apparel, toys and shoes, scarves and hats altogether in a line and place along the shore of any sea
World Premiere of Shoreline performed by Alison Knowles, Pip and Duane Brant. The piece was later performed in New Castle, England at the Waywood Gallery, and almost a year later, in February 2008 by the Pacific Ocean in San Diego with Charles Curtis and Artist Organized Art.

… and Atlantis Pirate for Paik by Larry Miller—a dramatic bathing event while wearing a tuxedo to soundtrack music from the 50s TV series, Victory at Sea.

Atlantis Pirate for Paik (2007) by Larry Miller
world premiere performed by Larry Miller

Fluxus On The Beach culminated with numerous audience participation championship games such as Blow Soccer, 6-ft Racket Badminton, Slanted Shoe Race, The Zen Dash and other races including Caterpillar Race, all refereed by Larry Miller and performed under the banner of FluxSports.

Blow Soccer (2007) by Larry Miller

Caterpillar Race (2007) by Larry Miller

2 FLuxfAir: [ 2:30-4:30PM ] an afternoon fair staged in the Plaza of the Arts at the Adrianne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Miami. FLuxFair was made up of FLuxFair Variations of works by Eric Andersen, Ay-o, Robert Bozzi, Genpei Akasegawa, George Brecht, Ben Vautier, Mieko Shiomi, and Robert Watts designed to function as booth style activities that invited audience participation. Most booths were setup around the perimeter of the plaza while the piano based activities coalesced around the middle.

Here’s a fair visitor interacting with a double reel-to-reel variation of the work Opera Instruction by Eric Andersen

Opera Instruction (1961) by eric anderson
an occurrence or part of an occurrence is recorded and played back
FLuxfAir Variation: a microphone on a stand connected to a reel-to-reel records the voice of a FLuxFair participant who has entered the plaza parallel to the piece. The magnetic tape is set to travel through the recording head and out about 15 ft to a second reel-to-reel with a take-up reel that pulls the tape and plays the recorded delayed sounds so the participant has time to go hear them through a speaker at the other end.

… and here we see another participant challenged to burst soap bubbles, not with a conductor’s baton but with a microphone.

Rainbow #1 For Orchestra by Ay-o
Original event score: soap bubbles are blown out of various wind instruments. participants brake the bubbles with batons
FLuxfAir Variation: a participant uses a microphone in place of a baton and attempts to amplify the bursting of soap bubbles

Other FLuxfAir Variations included Rainbow #2 For Orchestra by Ay-O; Choice 12 (1966) by Robert Bozzi, Incidental Music No 2,  No 3 and No 4 (1961) and Octet For Winds (1964) by George Brecht; …

Incidental Music No2 (1964) by George Brecht
wooden blocks. a single block is place inside the piano. a block is placed upon this block, then a third upon the second, and so forth, one by one, until at least one block falls
FL.ux.F.air Variation: participating audience members took turns to compete with each other for a Flux-Goody Bag Prize ( containing a nail and a chance to perform the final challenge ) by attempting to build the tallest Alphabet Block Tower upon the strings of our amplified FL.ux.F.air piano.

Sale (1962) and Audience Piece No 10 (1965) by Ben Vautier; Wind Music No 2 by Mieko Shiomi; two variations on C/S Trace (1963) by Robert Watts; …

C/S Trace (1963) by Robert Watts
an object is fired from a cannon and caught in the bell of a tuba
FL.ux.F.air Variation: tennis balls are thrown high across to the opposite end of the plaza from a tennis ball throwing machine booth to a second booth where contestants take turns to catch them into the bell of a Sousaphone.

Music for Piano No 5 (Flux-Variation) by Toshi Ichiyanagi; …

Music for Piano No 5 (Flux-Variation) by Toshi Ichiyanagi
an upright piano is positioned at center stage with its profile toward the audience. the pedal is fixed in a depressed position. a performer, hidden from view in the wings, throws darts into the back of the piano according to the time pattern indicated in the score
FLuxFair Variation: Gustavo demonstrates to those waiting their turn how to engage with this activity. although a target was painted on the back sounding board area of the FL.ux.F.Air upright piano, the winners were decided on the basis of achieving the loudest sound regardless of where the dart actually hit.

Piano Compositions No 9 and No 11 For Nam June Paik (1962) by George Maciunas; Fall by Lee Heflin; and Sanitas No 151 by Tomas Schmit.

Sanitas No 151 by Tomas Schmit
all the piano keys of a chromatic scale are nailed down
FLuxFair Variation: After successful completion of each challenge, participants obtained a Flux-Goody-Bag with a nail in it and the chance to drive that nail through a key of the amplified FluxFair piano in culmination of the event. This FLuxFair piano is part of the Subtropics Archive and Sound Art Collection and is signed by Alison Knowles. It has been exhibited several times including at the Bass Museum during the 2009 exhibition, SOUND.

3 FluxEve: [9:30PM ] A properly typical Fluxus concert featuring Alison Knowles, Myself and Larry Miller performing and directing the Subtropics 19 FluxEve Ensemble. A highlight of the evening was an indoor version of George Brecht’s Motor Vehicle Sundown Event (1960) featuring three Mini Coopers and drivers, conducted by Larry Miller:

Motor Vehicle Sundown (Event) To John Cage (1960) by George Brecht
This event score consists of a series of 22 written actions combined with 22 pauses to be performed by each of the drivers to the signals from a conductor

Other notable pieces performed included, Remote Music (1976) by Larry Miller

Remote Music (1976) by Larry Miller
a mechanical hand with pointing index finger (or a boxing globe) is arranged out of view on a string-and-pulley system above the keyboard prior to the performance. Out of view, the performer lowers the hand onto the keyboard to produce a single note

(Leaf Score Piece) by Alison Knowles

… and Trace for Orchestra by Robert Watts

Trace for Orchestra by Robert Watts
performers stand with music stands in front of them. the lights are turned off. the performers set fire to their scores, which light up in the darkness.

The evening concluded with an inspired performance by Larry Miller of Nam Jone Paik‘s piece, One for Violin Solo in honor of its author and former Miami Beach resident and Fluxus Day celebrated honoree. Most of the pieces may still be hidden around under and behind curtains and furniture inside the venue. The pieces we found remain in the violin case of the instrument used in the performance and form part of the Subtropics Collection.

NOTE: The major of Miami Beach honored Fluxus On The Beach with a Certificate of Recognition declaring March 3, 2007, Fluxus Day:

Special thanks to Justin McDonnell, then Artistic Director of the Adrianne Asht Center for the Performing Arts; Jeremy Chestler, then Executive Director of Oolite Arts; and the long list of SFCA staff, board members and volunteers without whom this huge event would not have been possible