SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

Exterior wall of La Mamelle Arts Center, 3rd Floor, 70 12th Street at Market

T.R. Uthco (Diane Hall, Doug Hall, Jody Proctor), 32 Feet per Second per Second (26th April 1976)



April 26, 1976. San Francisco. Doug Hall and Jody Proctor of T.R. Uthco, a San Francisco art/performance group, sat 60 feet above the pavement in chairs bolted to the masonry wall outside the east windows of the third floor of La Mamelle Gallery on 12th Street. They sat from 9:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon, and during this time hey talked continuously. The two performers were clearly visible to spectators on the street below. The sounds of their amplified voices and video images from two nearby cameras were fed into the gallery space. Their monologues, performed previously, but never for longer than two hours, were restricted in only one way – both presented a narrative description in the third person, male gender, past tense. They conceived of their voices as verbal muzak and maintained a constant babble, an endless stream of consciousness. Sitting so high above the ground, occupied with this ceaseless talk, the performers, who are both afraid of heights, created a psychic climate in which they believed they were going crazy. The event was called “32 Feet Per Second Per Second.” […]

FIRST SPEAKER: He said, “It couldn’t be any worse than a lot of stuff I’ve had in my life.” So he got down on the floor on his hands and knees. And he leaned his face down into the dish. And he sniffed it, and he said, “I ain’t gonna eat this.” He said, “No wonder the cat won’t eat that. I bet the cat would like a TV dinner.” And anyway he was getting hungry himself. It was time to eat dinner. He was hungry, he was tired, buyt he was mainly hungry, he decided. So he went into the freezer and he had a choice between four turkey dinners with rice and peas, and with a baked Alaska. He couldn’t really tell what it was. But it looked good.

SECOND SPEAKER: And he took his cock out. He had a hard on. And he jerked off in the dog dish. And the man watched him. And the man kicked him. The man kicked him hard in the ass and he rolled over. And then the man kicked him in the face and he felt the boot biting into his jaw, felt his jaw snap. And the man kicked him in the nuts. And his nuts were open. And the man kicked him again. The man took a knife. The man said he wanted to cut one of his fingers off. The woman was screaming, “Stop!” The woman was screaming, “Stop!” The woman was screaming, “Stop!” And he kicked him. And he took him and dragged him out of the door and he left him on the front door step. (T.R. Uthco 1977)