Paper Piece I – “Mixed Feelings”

by | Sep 26, 2017 | Artwork #1: Score


Find someone nearby to make a confession to
Write your feelings about them on a piece of paper
Rip up the paper when you finish

Create a pile somewhere to add your scraps to
When you are done, release your feelings

Artist Statement:

The score Mixed Feelings was inspired by a couple of different things.  The structure of the score was inspired by some of the works done by Yoko Ono in Grapefruit, yet the subject of the score was inspired by my interactions with other people in my life and the nervousness people have towards one another.

Trying to stay in line with the style of Ono’s scores in Grapefruit, I imitated the sentence structures she used. For example, in her scores, most of the sentences begin with an action such as “Do X“.  In turn, my score follows that style. I did not know if I wanted to make this score for a group or for the individual.  In the end, I decided that I would make the language targeted to an individual, but the score can be expanded to an infinite number of people. So, I made changes to some of the lines; the last line used to say “When we are done, release our feelings” but now says “When you are done, release your feelings.” I also imitated the vagueness that is a trademark of her scores such as in City Piece which instructs a person to walk around the city with an empty baby stroller. The phrase “release your feelings” is super vague and can be interpreted in many ways. While I pictured someone discarding the pile, in class, someone in the class took that to mean smashing the pile with their hammer!

As far as the subject of the score, I was focused on people’s interactions with one another. There are so many things which stop people from talking to each other and sharing how they really feel. I know that talking to new people can be really stressful. Something that should be so simple can be so hard. So, I wanted to make a score that can address this issue.

After enacting the score in class, I was really pleased by how the participants reacted. The best part was when I said that they would have to write a confession to the person that they chose. Not knowing if they would be forced to give their paper to the person, almost everyone became uncomfortable. There was no time limit, so I just waited until everyone generally agreed that they were done. When it came time to rip the paper, the group gave a collective sigh of relief.  I think that I would interesting to see what the experience would be like if the whole school shared their “mixed feelings”.

Below are some photos from my own enactment of the score.

Writing the letter

Ripping the letter