Month: September 2019

Don’t Panic (please)

Be muted. Say things you don’t mean.
Don’t worry about it though.
Be deafened. Hear things that aren’t always there.
You really shouldn’t be so hysterical.
Be blinded. See nothing you want to, and everything you don’t.
But don’t, like, panic or anything.

After reading many scores by Yoko Ono and others, I noticed a sort of poeticism to the words and phrases used, as well as the concepts themselves. For instance, the quiet romanticism of Yoko Ono’s Tape Piece III resonated quite strongly with me. I ended up approaching the writing of my score more like a freeform poem than a game or a performance like many people, probably because I am more comfortable in the realm of poetry than I am in performance art. I ended up being very focused on the flow of the language and the look of the words on the page, perhaps overly so.  In the process of designing my score, I ended up making several drafts with slight variations and comparing them to each other in terms of visual clarity and meaningfulness.

The message of my score evolved as I wrote it. My first intentions were to portray some kind of anxiety-ridden way of life, which is what the majority of people I showed it to read into it as well. As I rote, though, I was reminded or the old saying “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” and how that kind of behavior can often lead to evil taking power in a society. While I did enjoy the double meaning of my original score, I knew that, at least for my own purposes, I would have to choose one to lean into, mostly because of the how unrelated the two subjects were. Another, more tempting, solution would be to shift one or the other in some direction to relate them more closely to each other, either by drawing a parallel or juxtaposing something about them. After a lot of deliberation, I decided that taking the more personal angle would be much more impactful.

The path I chose was somewhat paradoxical: the instructions are at once demanding and condescending. The player is told to do things that remove control of their own lives from their hands, and then in the next breath they have their concerns dismissed as “worrying” and “hysteria.” This is meant to evoke the feeling of struggling with a total loss of control as someone with the responsibility, or at least the ability, to help fails to do so. The condescension toes the line of gaslighting at points, casually brushing off any reasons to panic or even worry, completely juxtaposed with the opposite lines’ instructions to give up all trust in your senses.

Recommended Daily Health Tips

Drink 8.4 ounces of water to start your day. Drink another 58.8 ounces throughout the day. Do not drink any more or any less. If you do, force yourself to regurgitate, measure its volume, and replenish only the correct amount. 

Ingest exactly 2000 calories. Ingest only fatty fish, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and eggs. If you fail to comply, pump your stomach and start over.

Vigorously exercise for 60 minutes. Do not take breaks. Do not stop. If your weak body passes out, get help, catch your breath, and then finish the remaining minutes of exercise. 

Sleep exactly 9 hours. If you are having trouble falling asleep it is acceptable to use a tranquilizer. If you are having trouble waking up, sleep on an off-balance chair and create a complex rig to tip you over at the right time. 

Repeat the following day. 

Artist Statement

My score was inspired by the modern idea of a perfect “healthy” lifestyle. I sought to subvert the idea of not only an exact, unmoving, empirically proven standard for “health” by rigidly sticking to commonly accepted, ideal recommendations to the point that it’s obviously ridiculous. Obviously, nobody measures their water intake in ounces and calorie labels are inherently unspecific and variable– by focusing on complete precision it’s obvious that one would have to go to extreme ends to even fulfill the score. For many people it would even be reactively dangerous to attempt it: people with nut allergies, diabetes, or low blood pressure, for example.

Moreover, I think a lot of these recommendations also fail to acknowledge ethnic and cultural differences. They’re often researched by, on, and commanded forward by white people; framing these as universal matrixes uphold a euro-centric white supremacist worldview. Additionally, a lot of these health recommendations both not cisgendered and differently abled people– the idea of an average “healthy” weight, BMI, height, etc. (especially when divided by sex) marginalizes a lot of people for it would simply be impossible to maintain said standards.

In the language of the writing itself I chose an authoritarian, overbearing tone– I find that the social pressure to maintain these healthy lifestyle is often presented in a way that shames and attacks people that can’t or don’t want to follow it. Following authoritarian tactics, the score barks orders and then disproportionately punishes the failure to follow them. My own experiences with authoritarianism has also taught me that incredibly often totalitarian governments will also maintain ironically inefficient, nationalist or sectionalist policies– I tried to mimic this with the chair rig suggestion.


Score Artwork 1

Keyboard Piece

(For one or more keyboards)

Begin in silence

Turn off your computer 

Type what you’d never say aloud

Type your secrets

Type your hatred and type your love

Turn your computer on


This idea came from something that I actually do as an outlet. I wasn’t sure how exactly I wanted to turn it into a score because when I do it I don’t always turn my computer off, sometimes I’ll type onto an imaginary keyboard on a desk or an unplugged keyboard, or just a keyboard with no typing application open. I find it thought-provoking as an idea that physically manifests your secrets while knowing that no one will really ever know what it was that you typed. I initially had the idea of typing it into a keyboard that you would then destroy but I wanted to tone it down into something that was easier to do for a classroom setting. I also didn’t find that much significance in the destruction of the keyboard, since what you typed was in no way represented by the physical keyboard itself. I thought it would make an interesting score since it would hopefully be cathartic for people. When we discussed it in class we talked about how the score itself provokes most of the thought that will probably come about when performing it. However, since then I turned it into a score that can also be performed by multiple people at once. Unfortunately, since making this decision I won’t have been able to try it out before class, but I expect that it will add another layer of depth to the score. As everyone stays silent, and all at the same time are typing out their worst secrets, crushes, things or people they hate, there will be a special energy in the room. And as people finish typing what they wanted to, their computers will turn on one-by-one or maybe a couple at the same time. It is similar to many of the scores that we looked at in and outside of class in that while it is a set of directions, it leaves a lot up to the performer. Each performance will likely be different, and no two people will have the same experience from it. 

Elena Kosowski’s Score: Path of Unnamed Faces


Walk along a path

  1. a) Walk for 1 minute
  2. b) Walk for 3 minutes
  3. c) Walk for a year

Observe and stare at the people you pass by

When you reach the end, sketch the people you saw with as much detail as you can

No video or camera allowed

Do it with a friend; compare and discuss your sketches

Erase everything




Artist Statement:

I came up with the basis of my score while walking across the Ruggles train station. I noticed that while I walked, I passed so many unique and diverse people. A couple minutes after that walk, however, I would completely forget all of them. This short experience made me wonder exactly how many people I’ve passed by and immediately forgotten in my life. These people I’ve passed may have meant so little to me, but they mean so much to others. To someone else, I was one of these insignificant people.

I wanted my score to repeat this experience. People will walk along a path and must pay attention to the people who pass them. They are encouraged to observe as much detail about this person as they can. After the walk, they must sketch what they remember. I wanted to make it clear in the score that use of video and cameras during this activity were prohibited. You aren’t supposed to know how accurate your memory is at the end. You may feel like you’ve forgotten to draw a particular person, and this uncertainty is part of the experience. The duration of the activity I think is an interesting addition. It is much easier to remember all the people you’ve met only a minute ago than three minute ago. A year is considered impossible. Lastly, the act of erasing all the sketches at the end symbolize erasing them from your memory altogether.

When I performed this score in order to test it, I did it with my friend Ariana. I think the best part of the experience afterwards was comparing our sketches. Ariana would notice and remember people I couldn’t recall in the slightest. The details we remembered were different too. While I would remember people based on their shirt colors or hair, Ariana would remember them based on race or the accessories they had. At one point we passed someone that I recognized from my English class, but to Ariana they were a complete stranger.  During this activity it was very sunny, and I wore sunglasses while Ariana did not. Ariana commented that she felt like she made people uncomfortable because she was noticeably staring at them. I had not experienced this issue.

One Minute Activity: Elena’s (first) and Ariana’s (second)

Three Minute Activity: Elena’s (first) and Ariana’s (second)