A New Year’s Eve Performance Piece by Fluxus Artist Ken Friedman

by Brandon Zech December 30, 2018
Fluxus artist Ken Friedman

Ken Friedman

Every time the end of December rolls around, we at Glasstire are reminded of Ken Friedman’s performance score In One Year and Out the Other. Intended to be performed by anyone and everyone, the piece is simple, yet conceptual:

On New Year’s Eve, make a telephone call from one time zone to another to conduct a conversation between people located in different years.

December 31, 2018 marks the work’s 43rd anniversary. It was first performed in 1975, when Mr. Friedman, who at the time was located in Springfield, Ohio, called his fellow artists Dick Higgins, Nam June Paik, Peter Frank, Christo and Jeanne-Claude in New York. Per the score, Mr. Friedman’s friends had already transitioned into 1976.

After the clock struck midnight in Springfield, Mr. Friedman made calls to California, to Tom Garver, Natasha Nicholson, and Abraham Friedman, who were still finishing out 1975.

The Fluxus spirit of Mr. Friedman’s score is alive and well today, although his piece takes many more forms now than phone calls. Television broadcasts, social media posts, and texts are just some of the adaptations that seem to fit within the parameters of Mr. Friedman’s idea — the communication of connected individuals between years.

Also fulfilling the Fluxus spirit of In One Year and Out the Other is the fact that people across the world activate the score without even knowing it. So whether you’re a performer or not, give someone a call on New Year’s Eve and begin 2019 with Mr. Friedman’s gracious artwork.

Mr. Friedman is the co-editor of a new book of selected writings by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins. Read Michael Galbreth’s review of that book for Glasstire here.

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