Untitled Performance at Max's Kansas City, NYC, 1970
Documentation of the performance
4 black-and-white photographs, silver gelatin on baryta paper
(prints approx. 1998)
41 x 41 cm each, framed 50 x 51.7 cm each
Max’s was an Art Environment, replete with Art Consciousness and Self-Consciousness about Art Consciousness. To even walk into Max’s was to be absorbed into the collective Art Self-Conscious Consciousness, either as object or as collaborator.
I didn’t want to be absorbed as a collaborator, because that would mean having my own consciousness co-opted and modified by that of others: It would mean allowing my consciousness to be influenced by their perceptions of art, and exposing my perceptions of art to their consciousness, and I didn’t want that.
I have always had a very strong individualistic streak. My solution was to privatize my own consciousness as much as possible, by depriving it of sensory input from that environment; to isolate it from all tactile, aural, and visual feedback. In doing so I presented myself as a silent, secret, passive object, seemingly ready to be absorbed into their consciousness as an object. But I learned that complete absorption was impossible, because my ”voluntary” object like passivity implied aggressive activity and choice, an independent presence confronting the Art-Conscious environment with its autonomy. My objecthood became my subjecthood. (Adrian Piper)