Month: October 2019

Pranav Gopan Score #1 – Shared Fire / Shared Passion


Two people, one piece of canvas paper, one lighter

One person holds the canvas paper at a 45-degree angle.

The other person takes the lighter and makes a mark on the paper using the flame.

Switch roles after each mark is formed.

The game is over if the paper catches on fire.

The game is won if an image can be made.


Intimacy is like a dance. One person makes a move and the other mirrors with their own style. Repetition of this creates a flow between two people. The flow can be smooth and beautiful. A mutual understanding can build into something memorable and worthwhile. At the same time, a single mistake can break the rhythm. Once a delicate image can turn into something unrecognizable. And soon the flow between two people is gone altogether.

The idea behind this project is to reflect the nature of relationships. Two people have to work together in order to create a beautiful picture. I chose fire as the main element because of its relentless and unpredictable nature. To leave an elegant mark, one must hold the flame just at the right distance from the paper and just for the right amount of time. All while, the other person must steadily hold the paper. Relationships require care, attention, and trust. When done right, beautiful memories are formed. But a single mistake can make those memories disappear. Just like in this score, a single mistake can lead to the whole paper catching on fire and destruction of past marks.

I knew I wanted to work with fire after seeing Wolfgang Paalen’s work, Fumage, in class. I spent the past summer working on various fire paintings myself, so it was exciting to start another project. Since I couldn’t find a friend who was brave enough to work with fire, I’ve attached a video of me playing both roles, along with a few of my own pieces.


Score – Amaël de Betak

Polaroid Painting


Take a picture using a polaroid camera.

Carefully remove the plastic film covering the picture using a blade of some kind.

Take a paintbrush and use the ink to paint the picture on the back of the polaroid frame.



The three main themes behind this score are rebirth, repurposing and time.


The theme of rebirth comes from the action of taking the picture and ‘killing’ it by cutting through it and removing its life, which can be thought of as the blood representing the blood of the picture. Then, the image is given a new life through the action of remaking it through a different technique and somewhat preserving the medium.


The theme of repurposing comes from this idea of taking something we are given and making something else out of it. One of the ways in which I view this score is somehow fulfilling a desire. When you take a picture, you are not exactly sure as to how it is going to come out, especially on a polaroid camera where there is no display and you simply have to rely on the image which one can see in the viewfinder. Therefore, when the picture comes out there is a chance that we are not satisfied with the outcome. This score allows you to take that polaroid and make something you want out of it by repainting the image with the memory of how you wanted it to be and not necessarily how it came out.


The final theme is time, which is obtained through the process of using a new-ish medium, as polaroid cameras have now been long surpassed by digital cameras, in order to give birth to an ancient medium, in this case, painting which has been present since at least 39,000 BCE with the first painting of a disc found in El Castillo.


The idea behind this score came from an art project which I had worked on where I was exploring the theme of emptiness and unfulfillment and decided to explore the medium of the polaroid. I had created a tryptic with one overexposed polaroid which was completely white, one polaroid which was taken in the total darkness of our school’s darkroom and one which was simply the frame of the polaroid painted using the ink from a picture.

Wanderlust Score

On the third Friday of the month,
Take a bus to a place you have never heard of.

Walk until you cannot.

Await further instructions.


I had two intentions when I created this score: first, I wanted to share a sense of adventure (perhaps a sensation of feeling lost). This is an important element missing from day to day life–some of my fondest memories growing up are times spent in the Adirondack mountains upstate in New York. Wandering, exploring, getting carelessly lost, and occasionally hitchhiking back to my uncles’ farm are among the realest experiences I’ve had; perhaps these are the times in my life I’ve lived most attuned to Fluxus values.

My goal was to combine that feeling with my second intention: an intervention of instructions using humor (“that deadliest of weapons against all that is pompous, staid, and holy” Zhuangzi). Scores, essentially lists of instructions, always seemed to me a weird vehicle for Fluxus to employ. It’s strange that they would employ such an explicit means–although maybe that’s part of it? Details such as “the third Friday of the month” and the pseudo-poetic structure of the stanzas are meant to imply some ornate level of significance, when there is in fact none. It is part of a trap laid for the reader: a lure with the promise of adventure only to discover a dead end, a punishment for following instructions blindly without question.

Or at least that was my original, somewhat callous intention for the score. Later when shared in class numerous other interpretations opened my eyes to alternate possibilities. My favorite of these (in keeping with the theme of wanderlust) involved changing the line “walk until your legs give out” to “walk until you cannot”: a far more open-ended prompt. Subsequently, the final line “Await further instructions” becomes similarly open to interpretation–the instructions can come from anywhere, you’ll know them when they come.

It’s always cool when other perspectives can show me new ways to riff off of something I created. I’m starting to truly value the potency of collaboration.

Washing Cycle Score

Washing Cycle

1) Pick up a dirty laundry
2) Wash it until it’s clean
3) Throw it at any surface that would make it dirty and do one of the following
a)Pick up the laundry and repeat step 1-3
b)Leave the laundry

Development and Inspiration

The first iteration of my score is a simple three step instruction. The first step is to “pick up a dirty clothes”. The second step is to simply “wash it clean”. And the third and final step is “throw it in a dirty puddle”. My inspiration for this score came from the scores in Grapefruit. In Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit there is a lot of seemingly pointless and absurd scores and instructions. Scores that stand out to me are Water piece which just simply stated “water”. Another one is where it tells you to hide until everyone forgets about you and die. I wanted to make a score that seem pointless like washing a dirty clothes just to throw it away and make it dirty. During the class discussion people brought up a lot of good points and observation about my score. Such as the score could represent a cycle or breaking of it. And that there is no further instructions after the last step, where it’s up to the person. So I took in those ideas and made the final version of my score. I wanted to give a clear option to the person performing this score. One option will create a cycle and another with break it. I also changed some of the wording to give more freedom to the performer. I changed dirty clothes to dirty laundry so that they can use other things such as socks, pants or even backpack. I changed the dirty puddle part to any surface that would dirtied the laundry. The reason for this change is because during the discussion someone brought up the point of what if the performer couldn’t find a dirty puddle. All these changes would let the performer use any laundry and at anywhere.

My idea behind the score is the idea of redundancy and cycle. Everybody is technically already doing the first three steps in their everyday life. They got dirty laundry and they would wash it. Eventually the clothes gets dirty by touching multiple surfaces and then the cycle repeats again. This is why I made the score vague in terms of time. I did not tell the performer to do the step right after the other. I left out the words such as “then” and “finally” so that each step can be done at any time. Everyone is repeating the 3 step until they chose to leave the laundry. The option at the end is a representation of the option everyone has: an option to stop. But ending a cycle is difficult. For example a bad habit, people can tell you stop but it’s difficult. You’re not gonna stop unless you want it to. Like the dirty laundry why would you throw it away just because a score gave you an option to. Only reason you would want to is you choose it yourself.

Self-Portrait Score

Original: Self-Portrait

Place a mirror in front of you. Using a clean sheet of paper and a new pencil, draw what you see, sharpening as needed. Stop when your pencil disappears. Leave the drawing but remember to take everything else.


Final: Self-Portrait

Place a mirror in front of you so that you are looking at yourself without distraction. Using a clean sheet of paper and a new pencil, draw what you want without erasing. Sharpen as needed, stopping only when your pencil disappears. Leave the drawing but remember to take everything else.


This score was inspired by a lot of work stemming from East Asian Taoist and Buddhist art. The actual voice for the score was inspired by East Asian poetry. I wanted a piece that was very simple in concept, but difficult in execution. I wanted it to be a challenge for the performer, as well as a lesson of sorts. My main ideas were of introspection, self-concept, and self-healing. When I thought of this score, I intended for it to be repeatable, and meditative, and designed it as a form of meditation. In its first iteration, the main idea was that the performance should get more difficult as you draw as there is less you see to draw, and at this point you would need to search harder for what to draw. In the second iteration, after I attempted the performance myself, I realized that I wanted to make it a bit more intense of an experience, so I added the rule that you can’t erase, so everything you draw is permanent. During class, some comments were that the score was vague, which I intended, but I tightened it up a bit, adding the lines that the space should be free of distractions. Some people realized that by the way I worded it, that the performer didn’t need to draw themselves necessarily, so I took with that and changed it so they draw whatever they want and I also added that they need to see themselves in the mirror. After performing the score, I saw some additional themes of just the experience of life. Thinking about Dada and how they made equivalent both art and life, I thought about how the score was really about the experience of making art rather than the actual drawing itself, in the same way that perhaps life is more about the experience than about the actual content.


Final Drawing



Appropriated Art Show and Tell

For my show and tell, I chose to show Dumb Starbucks, a product of comedy show Nathan for You, where in the episode, a local coffee shop failing because of a nearby Starbucks calls in Nathan who suggests that they turn the coffee shop into parody art by branding itself as “Dumb Starbucks”. I chose this because I wanted to showcase both a different form of appropriation, parody, as well as showing the confusion over whether the act was a form of art. The Dumb Starbucks joke received international praise as a form of street art and it was rumored to be a creation of Banksy, but it’s interesting to see how people’s perspectives on whether something is art or not changes depending on the artist making it.

Ryan Martin Show&Tell Appropriation Piece

So I’m a bit of a musical theater nerd and as such, one of my favorite shows is the hit musical “Hamilton” by Lin Manuel-Miranda. I consider the show itself to be a sort of appropriation of historical events, however that’s debatable. The depicts the founding fathers at the formation of our country, but shows them through the lens of a modern American perspective. One of the most important points in the show is right before the Battle of Yorktown, the battle which ended the Revolutionary War, in which Hamilton and Lafayette meet each other and declare “Immigrants, we get the job done.” a line which undoubtedly sparks cheers and applause from the audience. The line inspired a group of rappers, gathered by Manuel-Miranda, to create a song for the “Hamilton Mixtape” a collection of pieces by outside artists inspired by or drawing directly from the musical. This song appropriates numerous lines from the show, most obviously, the line “Immigrants, we get the job done” to add to the song. The juxtaposition of the line with the rapper’s lyrics of the hardships they faced as immigrants makes a clear political statement about the standards we hold immigrants to despite their hardworking and determined nature.

Appropriation: Amen Break

Amen Break

The example of appropriation that I chose for the show and tell is the “Amen Break”.
Amen break is the drum solo that was part of the 1969 remix of the gospel song: Amen, brother.
The solo was done by drummer G.C. Coleman and now his work is sampled in over 3000 songs, across
all genre.
The reason that chose this to present is because when we were talking about appropriation I
immediately thought of a video called “The most sampled loop in music history” by Great Big Story on YouTube.
Link to the video
I find this interesting because of the sheer number of songs that sampled this loop.
It’s in so many song that I don’t even realize it. I only start to hear it after doing some research about it.
And another interesting fact about the Amen break is that it inspired the Jungle music genre.

Elena Kosowski’s Example of Appropriation

My example of appropriation is the song “Pixel Galaxy” by Snail’s House. I listen to Snail’s House often, and when I first heard this song I thought it sounded very familiar. After some research, I realized that this song uses samples and melodies from a Kirby song. As a huge fan of Kirby, learning this only made me love the song more. The Kirby song that it samples is called “Green Greens”