SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

University Art Museum Berkeley, 2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley and extended journey through the city streets from Barkeley to Hayward

Howard Fried, 40 Winks (10th December 1971)



On December 10, 1971 I staged a piece called 40 Winks for a show of free live performance at the Berkeley Museum. The piece had two parts. The first was a long involved message which was posed as a riddle and delivered by me. It began as I destroyed a candled birthday cake by eating it or kneading it with my hands. Among those topics dealt with in riddled form were the biblical use of the number “40” and the history of corporal and communal abuse of the individual in the name of larger social configurations. At the message’s conclusion I posed the riddle’s specific directive, “Who is they?” At this point I cut the tablet I was reading in half and walked out of the museum. A narrator told the audience that the second part of 40 Winks, “The Journey” was about to begin. It would progressively add information possibly leading to the comprehension of the riddle. Those who wished to participate were asked to follow me. I began walking. A crowd followed. I answered no questions. The large group gradually dissipated. After about six hours of walking everyone had left except one person, Robin Winters. At about 2 A.M. we were stopped by the police in Hayward, California. They made me tell them the answer to the riddle. We went into a parking lot so Robin couldn’t hear. (Loeffler and Tong 1980: 79)