Eli Ping Frances Perkins
55-59 Chrystie Street, Suite 202
New York, NY 10002
Body by Body

Opening Sunday, June 7, 6-9 pm
June 7 - July 5

To Live and Die in the Country

GB:Another thing I wanted to touch on was the fact of your writing about such recent history. I think culturally there’s a bias against recent history: things can’t be talked about too soon; it has to be in a historical sweet spot. Were you conscious about this in your writing about recent history in Summer 
of Hate?
Chris Kraus: I think that’s very sad. People who I respect say that you can only really deal with politics and situations after a passage of time, but I don’t agree. I think that if we don’t try and process, both for ourselves and publically, what’s happening in the present, it’s a very great loss. Because that is the archival material of the future. I think there’s a way of understanding things in the present that is impossible to ever understand in retrospect. So much gets lost. Usually it’s the ordinariness, and the pettiness, and the banality that gets lost.
BRUCE NAUMAN: Yes. The other guy I remember from there who was a graduate student -- I don't know what he's doing either or if he ever continued to be an artist. His name was Johnson, I don't know his first name, and he worked during the day; he drew maps for some company in town, I guess. And at night and on the weekends he would come in and put on a work suit, overalls, and he carried a dime store hammer and a dime store saw and made these structures out of lath strips all nailed together, and sometimes they had wheels on them, sometimes painted on and stuck together. Sometimes they had drawers in them and stuff. Everybody -- the instructors -- really disliked him; he took up a lot of room, and they didn't feel he was serious because he used all these toy tools. People would pin notes on them and he'd paint the notes into it.
MICHELE DE ANGELUS: This was at Wisconsin? That must have been really hard for them to deal with.
BRUCE NAUMAN: And I think for his graduate show he showed some of those structures. They were really rickety and they'd fall apart when he'd get them over to the place where he had to show them. And then he took what I assume were a lot of his old paintings and turned them face to the wall (...)
And I believe they failed him. I don't think that they gave him his degree. But I left after that and I don't know if he tried again, or if he left, or if he ever intended to get a degree or what.
MICHELE DE ANGELUS: Did you perceive any of his activities at the time as performance art? I know that that wasn't an area of interest -
BRUCE NAUMAN: I think that there was a feeling of that. You know, his costume. I've no idea what I thought about it or how much I thought about it. The stuff was just there, and I remember it, so it certainly made an impression.
MICHELE DE ANGELUS: That sounds interesting. I wonder what he's doing now?
BRUCE NAUMAN: I have no idea.
“If you can make it complicated, why make it simple?” - Raul Ruiz
Halfway through the planning of this show we realized it doesn't matter what we do or make. "There has to be a terrible will at work in order to manufacture oneself into a something" Artaud said. To instrumentalize your "work" in order to "do" something is monstrous, to have an effect is despicable. Because the effect always concludes with you-know-what… This is why the next series after this show will be work that we can trade for credit to Soho House. They say to survive is to triumph though.  And that's what we're doing, we're surviving. Many great artists have survived, Doris Wishman was one.
This show presents three plays and two monologues. Most of the narratives are concerned with the near-past. They are interested in the nebulous border between canonization and the void. Therefore it's about "winners" and "losers" but in that fleeting moment in time when everything is still "up for grabs", right after practices have sclerotized into careers and the younger ones' petty motifs are blossoming into signatures (an analogy for hair on the pubic regions). It's a solidifying all around, a great big sweaty functioning. While others sit high (or low) farming work for an ideal audience (which doesn't actually exist), or for their friends (sycophants), or (when they lie) for themselves; we identify with the losers who make work for embarrassing reasons. This is because most of the other half consists of sociopaths. As we get older, we've realized that it seems the only way to reach a certain amount of success is to gradually sociopathize yourself, and somehow in this humid process your work becomes more legible to the public consciousness. Often, drugs are used to help facilitate this education. Drugs and interviews and artists statements and babies that read and speak and cry out like administrative paperwork. Around age 35 is when you first begin to feel the creep sneaking up and your brain begins to stiffen. You die.
We commissioned Momus, pop-singer and author of now-defunct blog Click Opera, to write a song about the 2000s (what some call the oughties or the noughties). Without any other prompt he wrote about failures and thrift stores. We also recorded a conceptual album spread out over 100 cassette tapes. We chose tapes because they're "underground" "nostalgic"  "expensive" "cheap" a "waste"  "sentimental" "ironic"  "overvalued" "undervalued" "fetishistic", the list could go on but ultimately they're stupid and we don't care about them. They're cultural BLOAT. The album is the soundtrack to the fictional character JOHNSON, an unknown artist in the 50s (based off the above Nauman quote) who is reincarnated as a female called "J" in present day NYC. Gradually, through her reincarnation and examination of past lives, she begins to see cultural life as a tournament in which everyone and everything is pitted against one another in constant competition, perpetually evaluating and re-evaluating its own "weight" against everything else around it.This great "rubbing against" is the theatrical neurotic struggle of privileged life outside
of war.
NOTHING TO LOSE (2015) - a 3-act play. a male is given temporary leave from work and goes on a trip/vacation with their significant other. 
SPEEDING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE (2015) - 3-act play...self-explanatory, nothing to explain here, see it for yourself.
LES XXX (2015) - 3 act play... cheat codes to walk through walls.
ALL NEW YORKERS SHOULD RECEIVE A STIPEND OF 1,000 DOLLARS A MONTH  (2015) -A monologue from a dead person about the joys of being white and having lots of interesting hobbies and fun stuff to think about.
SYMPATHY FOR THE LANDLORD (2015) - This monologue subliminally implores you to copulate with your landlord (or anyone who owns land).

Body by Body, Eli Ping Frances Perkins, New York