“When I was working on TYTULTPennant in 1961, I was just about to lose faith in my theory of random sometimes-free-associative images and junk the whole project. Then I took mescaline and knew instantly that I was right. The months of self-doubt and idle play came to an end, and I completed the film in the following two weeks. All became clear: with continuity on the soundtrack (originally stereo tapes) I could do anything with the pictures. Anything. All that was lacking was a third ingredient–the mind of a viewer. Someone else’s head could inscribe a complete 360 degrees–filling in other free associations that I had purposely left out. Conscious of this effect on the audience, I decided to intensify it. If the audience was going to participate, why couldn’t I? I put a series of questions on the soundtrack and, for two years, performed with the film running insanely about theatres screaming back at my own soundtrack. But now time has passed… I’ve grown tired… and Ed Emshwiller has made the beautiful RELATIVITY which proves beyond a doubt how the free image with continuity sound can spur one’s imagination. I’ve changed, but TYTULTPennant hasn’t. It can still be used as a Happening. You can combine it with dance or rock and roll or Black Masses or Donkey Baseball Games or poetry readings or Womanless Weddings. Or project it on a sheet and give the audience rotten tomatoes to throw at the screen–which is set on fire during the closing seconds. Or the audience is told to yell back their own answers to the questions. Do whatever you want with it. I don’t care. I just want to sit back and watch.” –B.S.
Instructions: “Notes for THE YEAR THE UNIVERSE LOST THE PENNANT actor During opening questions from the soundtrack… What?... How?... Who?... ...the actor expresses bewilderment as he echoes the same questions. After the soundtrack statement… Give me answers!... ...the actor, in anguish, announces… I HAVE NO ANSWERS! Ditto for… Give me reasons!... ...the actor answers… I HAVE NO REASONS! (Soundtrack) Get out! Get out of yourself! (actor) I TRY...IT’S OUT THERE, I KNOW! (Soundtrack) Out where? (actor) OUT THERE...IT’S OUT THERE! THE WORLD IS OUT THERE! (Pointing) IT’S OUT THERE! This last is literally screamed and the actor begins moving through the audience or down main aisle of theatre...screaming until he is out of sight. Screen film several times for timing of cues. If possible, tape soundtrack for rehearsal purposes. Preferable costume is simple, not off-beat, black outfit. Eliminate live action sequence if screening film for actor is not possible. Dancers interested in interpreting this sequence of film are encouraged if actors are unavailable.”
A program of films about "happenings"
On Monday, January 29th, 2024, at 7pm, join us at the FMC Screening Room (475 Park Avenue South, 6th Floor) for an exciting program of films about "happenings", spanning the early 1960s to the early 1990s!