SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

Union Square

Mark Pauline/Survival Research Laboratories, Assured Destructive Capability (10th March 1979)



An omni-directional slash in the face at Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev, to which the Consulate General of Red China was invited. (Survival Research Laboratories 2013)

Bill Edmonson: Not long after Machine Sex, you did a piece called Assured Destructive Capability, where you used a machine called The Stabber, to mutilate a life-size image of Leonid Brezhnev.

Mark Pauline: Yeah, The Stabber is a machine with this mechanical arm and hand that can grasp different objects. It’s got different speed settings, and rollers that can pull a long length of two-dimensional images along, and expose them for striking, usually by a blade that’s held in the hand of the mechanical arm. In that show we not only smashed Brezhnev up—God rest his soul—but we had explosives wired up in back of the old boy’s eyes, which we eventually blew out; that was followed by big, long, spurts of green slime, that looked like pus! We also sent an engraved invitation to the Consulate General of the Peoples Republic of China; I don’t know if he came or not, but I hope he did. (Edmonson 1983)

Additional Resources