In this theater . . .



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IN THIS THEATER, where the image of life substitutes for its realization, the only choice appears to be from among the variety of roles available. Separation — whether between the various roles in an individual actor’s repertoire (e.g. at work and at leisure) or in the “communication” between one performer and another — reigns everywhere.

As if by unspoken agreement, everyone consents to the inevitability of this farce. Discontent confines itself to demanding a new director and more equitable casting. Some, dissatisfied with this form of “change,” improvise more palatable characters, more amusing lines: alternatives within the range of roles allowed to them. In this way they rejuvenate a stale plot, and the Show goes on.

The least credible parts of the drama are reinforced by ideological sideshows. Thus, the entire genre is never questioned, postponing the day when we’ll really bring the house down.

* * *

In a game where each alternative is a form of self-denial, the only real choice is the refusal to play.

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* * *

IN THE REVERSAL OF PERSPECTIVE, each individual element of the drama is viewed in relation to the entire real possibilities: projected into the Whole. Constraint, mediation, and role are resisted and transcended by their opposites, by these three inseparable projects: participation, founded on the passion of play; communication, founded on the passion of love; and realization, founded on the passion to create.

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By its own lights, the Show seems to go on undisturbed; founded on separation, on the fragmentary, it cannot conceive of the unity of these projects as: a transparency of human relations favoring the real participation of everyone in the realization of each individual.

Thus, the Show confidently observes its performers continuing to speak their lines, unaware that certain “reversals” are being introduced which cannot be “dramatically” resolved — except through its own destruction.

* * *

By taking our dreams and desires as the base of our activity, and by playing this game totally and coherently, we make ourselves a contradiction to everything which contradicts our fundamental project:

the free construction
of daily life

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Mini-pamphlet issued August 1970 by the group “1044” (Ken Knabb and Ron Rothbart). Reprinted in Public Secrets: Collected Skirmishes of Ken Knabb (which has the same Alice in Wonderland illustrations on the cover).

No copyright.

[French translation of this text]
[Italian translation of this text]
[Spanish translation of this text]