Owen Smith is speaking at The 28th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts

Dripping Dirty Water Music: fluidity and the aesthetics of Fluxus in performance, publications and beyond

Throughout the history of modernism, there are a number of “alternative traditions” to the mainstream notions of Modernist practice. One of the most significant of these is that demarked by the trajectory from Dada through Fluxus. Their creative processes conjoined disparate elements from conventional meanings and actions in order to create new and unexpected possibilities. Fluxus attempted to establish multiple possibilities rather than to set new transcendent orders or associations and in this process fluidity became an important concept and water became a material of choice. In works such as George Brecht’s Drip Music, Mieko Shiomi’s Water Music and Ben Vaulter’s Dirty Water is utilized in a myriad of ways: as quotidian reference, as a performance prop, as a production material for multiples, and, something like Fluxus itself, something that can hold many forms and qualities. This presentation will cover the role, place and function of water and related materials properties in the work of Fluxus artists as a means of elucidating the nature of Fluxus aesthetics and Fluxus praxis in the creation of an art of the everyday.