Untitled Guidelines for Happenings

This article tackles the concept of a ‘happening’ which blurs the distinction between life and art.  A ‘happening’ is an experience, pathological rather than constructed that mirrors the analogy of ready-made versus man-made.  A happening can involve a spectrum of materials, people and actions.  It’s locality is not contingent on a specific place, its mobility is intrinsic to its conception.  Kaprow explains it can move from the smoggy sideline of a congested avenue to the intimate surroundings of a motel bedroom.  Its unpredictability sets it apart from other art movements. Time, like space, is  disjointed and varied.  The collective experience the constitutes the happening must be orchestrated like an irrational melody.  The nature of time is manipulated by its utilization- if you’re busy, it accelerates- if you’re bored, it drags.  With that said, a happening can only occur once, as it is meaningless if the act is repeated. Furthermore, an audience must be obsolete, as such would render it a performance.  A happening is an experience that is engaged in by participants in as well as onlookers.  It’s artistic merit is tied to its unpredictability.

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