Alison Knowles Tate Modern
London Times: Make A Salad

From: Alison Knowles
To: Joshua Selman
Subject: Tate rated
Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2008 18:15:11 –0400

Josh: The event score to be performed at the Tate in London on May 24th at four o’clock in the afternoon is from the Great Bear Pamphlet By Alison Knowles published in 1964. The proposals for performance are labeled “propositions.”

#2-Proposition (October, 1962)

Make a Salad

Premiered October 21st, 1962 at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London, I made and served up salad for perhaps 20 people.

Visiting the Turbine Hall is like standing in Grand Central Station at rush hour. Around 1900 people each day will attend what is titled the Fluxus Long Weekend. My friend Larry Miller and I are the arrangers of the event. He will do the Fluxsports and I the Salad. The other days will include collaborative pieces with performers they provide from Goldsmith college and I will also do a sound work called Newspaper Music. I am very honored by the invitation.

The Tate has been very cooperative with me in my structure for the performance and I in turn have yielded to their demands. They are both large and prestigious and have certainly made salad for special guests over the years, however the differences are significant. My audience must see and hear the salad in production before they can eat it. The first roadblock we surmounted was the actual performance site. I chose the bridge overlooking the entire space. The bridge is about twelve feet wide and approximately four metres from the floor below.

The salad will be selected by the head chef, that’s me. The five other chefs they are providing will arrive with their own knives and implements for cutting and shaving vegetables. Chefs, I learned, never share their knives. They will all accompany me the day before to the Borough Market (nearby and the best in London they say) and help select the vegetables flowers and fruits to make a salad for around 500 people. Five hundred people is the figure that was printed in the London Sunday Times Ad this week at any rate. There will be no limit or selection of the people invited to eat. We will eat until it is gone. The table of preparation will be contact mic’d beneath, and the sound spread through the space with a PA system.

All the ingredients will be clean and bagged before we begin. Beneath the bridge a tarpaulin twelve meters square will be spread. It will receive the radishes, olives, violets, rose petals, carrots, tomatoes, at least three types of lettuce for sure. These ingredients will float down, thumping and bouncing and raining down from the bridge to the tarp below . The tarp will be held up at the sides and corners by only the most gifted students from Goldsmith college! The dressing will be dribbled over from the bridge. They promise canoe paddles and a sterilized garden rake for the mixing process, the tarp by now being too heavy to lift. I wished my grand daughters to do the raking in sterilized rubber boots, but this did not pass.

A Mozart quartet will initiate the chopping and when the salad is complete the quartet will finish the selection signaling the serving operation. The music of Mozart and the music of chopping have found a place together at last in contemporary sound art thanks to Proposition #2 and Lucy Railton who heads the quartet.

I have bowed to the hygienic demands of the institution, which has gone through hard territory with the English health department to have a legal salad. We have agreed to wear net hats and gloves but not mouth masks. They (five curators) have “adjusted” the small restrictions and we do have the approval of the Bank of England (really) who will be funding the Fluxus Long Weekend. I am confidant we will not be arrested. I wish the salad to be stupendous not sensational. We know that if we could get this world together there would be enough salad to feed everyone and that’s the metaphor.

So, if you find yourself in London in May come to the Tate at four o’clock on the 24th and we can all pitch in, pitch it over and pull it off.

Alison Knowles for Artist Organized Art April 27 03

#permalink posted by Alison Knowles: 5/01/08 10:31:00 AM


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