Saturday, 29 August 2009

William S Burroughs / Art Auction Action Guidelines

William S Burroughs/ Art Auction Action Guidelines
nat thomas

Ever been to an art auction?
Conjure the vibe of William S Burroughs, and attend one.
Aim to upset the accepted order of proceedings.
Choose a branded Auction firm, and preferably a night when large yield product is going under the hammer. Disregard Provenance and create your own.
Utilize one or a variety of strategies to achieve your goal.
Your goal is to create an atmosphere of mayhem and eventual contemplation.
Preparation- maybe your thing, but impromptu has its place.
Enlist the help of a gaggle of mottled family or friends (safety in numbers plus folk to share the experience with).
Create a persona to inhabit for the Auction, - scan the breadth of Burroughs’ own life for inspiration.
Brainstorm with your crew- be specific (Ginsberg, Kerouac, Joan Burroughs: all ripe for character interpretation), or more general- ‘Doctors and Nurses’, or the ‘Exterminator and the Housewife’; ‘CIA spy and Informant’ are the more obvious choices and could have their place.
Attempting to inhabit a skin other than your own, may help with the courage needed to actualize your plan.
Also, use drugs (recreational or prescription, alcohol). Be moderate before Auction, then top up in the toilets. Smoke.
Register for a ‘paddle’ before you get to the Auction. Or not. But the Action will have more impact if economic implications ensue.

Easy ways to upset a commercial Art Auction:
Talk loudly, but timing is all.
Stay seated and orderly until a particularly ‘important’ (expensive) artwork or object is under the hammer. Patiently, patiently, catch the monkey. Tension is rising in the room.
RECITE sections of Burroughs ‘Junkie’ to assembled crowd. When the security guards cart you out of the venue, don’t resist the ejection. Stay calm and keep reading.
OR stand on your chair. Stand tall and proud, in an old man hat and overcoat. Think of William. His life, the writing and readings, THE VOICE, the extremes.
Think of withering William Burroughs.
And your audience will note you