SiteWorks: San Francisco performance 1969-85

950 Columbus Avenue

Mark Pauline/Survival Research Laboratories, Fiery Presentation of Dangerous and Disturbing Stunt Phenomena (4pm, 29th October 1981)



SRL machine operators ride through flaming tubs of gasoline, detonate bombs attached to their bodies, fire hand-held Flamethowers as a robot fuck machine with an expanding and deflating rubber head mates with a huge black bag in its flaming pen. A radio-controlled buzz saw equipped tank careens out of control, threatening and finally assaulting the audience and Target Video crew. (Survival Research Laboratories 2013)

Bill Edmonson: Have you ever considered incorporating any human elements in your work?

Mark Pauline: That would undermine the whole concept. However, I did use human performers in a piece called A Fiery Presentation of a Dangerous and Disturbing Stunt Persona but only in a very cruel and destructive way. In that one, my assistants and I had bombs and rockets attached to our backs—with protective metal plates worn underneath—which we would detonate intermittently, knocking us down; one guy even had a rocket wired to his leg that shot off. And I had my assistant, Mattie Heckert, drive this real weird looking go-cart I made, through flaming and exploding troughs of gasoline, In that show we also used the audience; but not so much as performers, but as targets! Yeah! Like Mattie had this flame thrower he kept on shooting toward the audience, and I had my radio control car (a seven hundred pound life-size car that’s run by radio control with no driver) with a giant buzz saw attached to the front of it, go berserk. I made it careen completely out of control, break through this plexiglass protection barrier, and run out into the audience, knocking people over! Yeah, we used people in that show, but purely as targets to be threatened with destruction! (Edmonson 1983)

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