SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), 800 Chestnut Street at Jones, San Francisco

Richard Irwin, Ghost Tower (8pm, 27th October 1978)

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Beginning at 8:00 PM OCTOBER 27 1978 at the San Francisco Art Institute 800 Chestnut Richard Irwin will perform an action taking place in SFAI TOWER. The entire action may be witnessed LIVE via Video on a monitor located inside STUDIO 10 (inside JONES STREET parking lot)


1) I am seen dressed in black wearing a black cloth over my head crawling up the tower steps. A spotlight is attached to person taping this action, but only my action will be viewable.

2) I have ascended each step, pausing and interacting with each as I move, into the tower loft. Inside is a second camera on a tripod, a Ouija board and thin sheet of 8½x11” glass hung from the ceiling at “eye level”. Once inside I interact with this space, first with the four corners moving in a counterclockwise direction, feeling my way past each of the four “arch walls” as I pass, then repeat this action in reverse, (clockwise). I move then to the floor center locating the camera.

3) The first camera is terminated by severing camera-to-deck connection, switching to video #2. During this activity I remove my clothes.

4) Standing, looking at the camera, I remove the hood. I look directly into camera lens, picturing mentally the monitor in studio 10, travelling thru the electrical connection I project myself into studio 10, picturing the people there, projecting myself into their presence.

5) Sitting on the floor, placing my hands on Ouija board, I ask “is there a spirit present”. If the answer is “no” or “yes” I respond accordingly. If I receive no contact I end the piece by breaking the sheet of glass against my forehead. If contact is established, upon satisfaction that this activity is completed, the act of breaking the glass nevertheless transpires.

6) Performance ends after I have broken the glass and proclaim: “WE ARE IN THE TOWER THE TOWER IS IN US” (Irwin 1978)

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