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SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

80 Langton Street

Survival Research Laboratories, Deliberately False StatementsA Combination of Tricks and Illusions Guaranteed to Expose Shrewd Manipulations of Fact (6th October 1985)

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Deliberately False Statements: A Combination of Tricks and Illusions Guaranteed to Expose Shrewd Manipulations of Fact was a totally irresponsible performance that took place at a parking lot in the South-of-Market area of San Francisco. “The Muzak (sic) wafted across the chilly parking lot, the arc lights casting everything in bluish newsreel light, as the near capacity crowd waited impatiently for…the men behind Survival Research Laboratories to kick in with their newest installment of mechanized madness. The field of action was comprised of four shacks – three standing, one mobile – a catapult, a cannon, a bastardized missile launcher, drill-driven machines with pincers, walking machines, stalking machines, machines that spewed fire and others. The Muzak blaring out over the crowd halted, replaced with a pre-recorded tape of assorted noise, shrieks, crash sounds, animal screams and heralding the show’s start, a cannon burst. The lights, the action, the rockets’ red glare, the spin and twist of machines were all in performance of a nightmare that was more like a mechanized version of a Boschian hell than blood ‘n’ guts Rambo. The show moved me to smile, to scream, to move, to shake… Video games, camouflage fashion, siege mentality, soulless interactions, mindlessness, sterile intellectualism, mob psychology, Rambo, flag waving and the thrills and chills of life in the ‘80s, have conspired to destroy the wide-eyed sense of wonder that comes from watching real people, not Pac Men, orchestrate the fantastic. SRL ushers in the beleaguered subjective, the standard bearer of eros, into a community awash in the stultification of commonality, the awful, sameness of sameness, and for this I am thankful. (Survival Research Laboratories 2013)

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