Write a secret on a piece of lined paper
Become Robert Frost
It cannot be your own
Take the Path Less Traveled By
Fold it lengthwise, then crumple it
Return to your body
Throw it away
Regret your life choices
Do not wonder what the garbagemen think of you now
Do not follow the instructions in italics
I created the piece, Ambiguity, to show the different ways instructions can be interpreted if not given hard guidelines, as well as reactions to finding out that previous instructions were changed or nullified by future ones.
In Ambiguity, the reader/enactor does not know that only the unitalicized (or, in the physical copy, written in print rather than cursive) instructions are meant to be followed. When strung together, those create a rather direct set of instructions to write a secret not belonging to you on a piece of paper, fold, then crumple it, then throw it away, ignoring potential changes in attitude from “the garbagemen”. At the end of the piece, an instruction tells the reader to ignore the italicized lines, which are the more difficult ones to pull off, being primarily of a metaphysical nature, such as Move on.
My reader/enactor, a friend, took a very different approach to the piece, as she approached every index card as its own complete instruction, unconnected to the rest of them. This led her to interpreting the numerous uses of “it” as random objects of her choosing, such as her hoodie, her scrunchy, my notebook, and her girlfriend.
This piece was mostly inspired by various scores in Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit, mostly for their tone and somewhat backtracking nature if you do not read the entire piece all in one go. It was also partially inspired by Flux kits, with their various parts that were individual pieces that made up a whole that overall still didn’t quite make sense.
My friend follows the first instructions
She is Robert Frost (obviously)
The confusion sets in
My friend throws “it” away
She finds the path less traveled by
(this was a .gif but apparently wordpress hates those)
(she climbed up to the floor above us via indoor balcony)
She returned to “her body” (aka her girlfriend)
(I have several more steps that I took as video but wordpress will not allow the .gif versions of them)
Materials: pencil, paper, trash can
Additional materials: friend’s random item choices, the environment