If You Won't SHOOT Me, at Least DELETE Me! Performance Art from 1960s Wounds to 1990s Extensions: Bernadette Wegenstein
After the undeniable influence of the early twentieth-century avant-garde, especially futurism and dadaism, the happenings of the 1960s were primarily the product of an increasingly intensified media environment. The hypothesis for the following essay is that what we today know as the pastiche or collage style, a structure that-as we know-is inherent to the logic of postmodernity and the digital (Le., fragmented subjectivity, the "windowed" organization of knowledge, and so forth) is ultimately an effect of a mediatized environment that reached the peak of its development in the second half of the twentieth century, inspiring actionists and happening artists in the 1960s to stage mass media related concepts such as "simultaneity" in their performances. Fifty years earlier, the avant-garde, for instance the futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, had idealized and dreamed of"simultaneity"1 as a result ofthe new technologies of representation such as photography and film that started to allow for such practices as morphing and superimposition, practices that we often think of as being typical only since our current digital era. "Ifyou won't SHOOT me, at least DELETE me!" is an attempt to consider performance art from 1960s wounds to 1990s extensions both with an eye to history and to the future, asking questions such as: which concepts have been inherited from the avant-garde; which are in fact the new and pathbreaking body configurations at the turn of the millennium; and, most importantly, what can a new era of digital performance offer to this kind of discourse?