Monday, February 18, 2008
Blank Placard Happening
This Saturday I participated in my first "happening". It was really amazing and lots of fun. This was a renactment of Anna Halprin's Blank Placard Happening for 1969/70. Below you can see Anna Halprin giving us directions and explaining the "score." They were as follows:
In groups of approximately 30 people we will be walking in pairs each holding a blank placard. Our leader will take us around to Market St. for about 30 minutes. When we hear the musical signal, we should all stop marching and line up facing the sidewalk (toppic). If someone asks us what we are doing and why our sign our blank - we should tell them that we are participating in the Blank Placard dance and then ask them what they would want to see written on the sign.
Observing the way people react to this odd performance was incredibly interesting. Some just walk by and completely ignore us - probably sizing us up to be some lunatic hippie group. Others responded by telling us that there was nothing on our sign (as if we weren't aware of that fact.) And some, were quite enthusiastic and eager to tell us what they would want to see protested. The first woman I spoke to though very carefully about it before she said, "I think developers should build more affordable housing." Others simply said - "I don't know" or "There is nothing that I would want to protest" (??!!). We heard a lot of "Vote for Obama." "Vote for Hillary." "Impeach Bush." "End the war." .... etc.
In the end we returned to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts where we had begun our walk, and wrote up on our placards - what we had been told by the passers by. We then walked around in a circle, and then a snake type formation so that we could read what everyone's signs said. It was wonderful fun and a moving experience, I hope to participate in more happenings in the future.