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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathPerformance
Television Décollage (Vostell, Wolf), 1963TV-Décoll/age no. 1 (Vostell, Wolf), 1958TV-dé-collage für Millionen (Vostell, Wolf), 1959

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artistic act situates itself always in the not purely metaphorical area of tension between interior and exterior.

>Happenings: Technical apparatuses for participation

While the happening—defined, by Allan Kaprow, with the simple words «something happens»—had no predefined outcome, it still relied on the event character in a way wholly different from Cage's compositions.[17] The happening was not the singular manifestation of a specific historical constellation, but in some aspects characteristic of twentieth-century avant-garde movements. See, for instance, James Joyce's notion of the epiphany, Walter Benjamin's references to shock as a poetic principle and the lightningfast recognition of that which is «irrevocably losing itself,»[18] or the often cited example of Jackson Pollock's action painting, which pointed out the process-based character of painting, or Yves Klein's method of staged body-painting. However, the happening added a crucial component to the avant-garde currents of the twentieth century that Jean-Jacques Lebel expressed as follows: «What we have been doing with happenings is not just giving people


something to look at, we have been giving them something to do, something to participate in and create with. We are giving them a language for their hallucinations, desires and myths.»[19] That made it clear that it was no longer a question merely of altered, process-based production methods, but of dialogical or participatorial processes between production and reception in art, in the media, on the street.

In the essay «Concepts for an Operative Art» (1969), Jeffrey Shaw wrote: «The event we look for is when a particular structuring of art/architecture/spectacle/technology makes operational an expanded arena of will and action open to everyone.»[20] Associated with this notion of the operative was a multifarious range of parallel, interfering activities («intermedia,» to use the term coined by Dick Higgins). Contingency and continuity, the fluid and the amorphous, the open and the process-based—these concepts aimed at dismantling the patterns and codes of traditional cultural production. The same aim inspired Wolf Vostell to coin the famous term «dé-coll/age,» (variously adapted in titles including «Television Décollage,» «TV-Décollage no.1,» and «TV-dé-collage für Millionen»).

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