Stephen: David and I have drafted a spontaneous piece to explain how we work in version 1.0.
David: “In the beginning there was the word and then the word became flesh.” That’s the beginning of the Book of John in the New Testament.
It’s also usually the beginning of our work
Stephen: Thou shalt not kill
David: In the beginning there’s always lots of words: stuff we’ve written, stuff we’ve found, stuff we know we want to do one day but just haven’t found the time, random scribbling, etc etc.
Stephen: Thou shalt not steal
David: Then we set something up.
Stephen: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours wife.
David: Something that barely makes sense to anyone. And then we throw some of that writing in.
Stephen: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour.
David: Slip it under the skin, into the flesh, in relationship to words that alternates between the throw-away line and being possessed…
Stephen: Thou shalt not covet in public or on the boss’s desk
David: Getting carried away or thrown away. Shrugging it off or being infected by it.
Stephen: Thou shalt not covet on the escalators at David Jones
David: There’s always lots of words around us. We talk a lot with each other and at each other.
Stephen: Shut up, David. You’re talking shit.
David: We use big words, rude words, stupid words, contradictory words and words we don’t understand and have to look up in the dictionary.
Stephen: Thou shalt look up the meaning of “covet”
David: We use these words to argue with each other, to convince one another that I am right and you are wrong. To explain why we are bothering to be here at all, to deceive ourselves that we really are on the right track and to convince other people that we really are artists and we really do have a vision.
Stephen: Thou shalt not worship false Eye Dolls (HE PRODUCES A BARBIE DOLL WITH AN EYEBALL FOR A HEAD)
David: A lot of these words are strategic or tactical and are deployed based on the demands of others outside the process, especially funding bodies and publicists.
Stephen: Thou shalt not speak too much.
David: The rest of these words depend largely on contingency, accident, improvisation, making do and making it up.
Stephen: Thou shalt not speak too little.
David: I wrote this because I drank a bottle of wine last night and had 2 coffees trying to wake up this morning. I wrote these words because these neurones make connections with each other in this moment linking together my random thoughts and the randomly sorted ideas raised by the collection of books, films and performances that I happened to see over the last fortnight.
Stephen: Thou shalt not look behind this door.
David: This can’t be explained by reference to some deep, authentic voice that is somehow contained within me.
Stephen: Thou shalt be alert but not all armed.
David: To use Werner Eisenberg’s notion of the electron, it is un-look-at-able. Either its material conditions or its trajectory can be known but not both at the same time.
Stephen: Thou shalt not. Not, not. Naughty boy!
David: An idea from Tim Etchells of Forced Entertainments: What I am at this moment is a collection of the writing that flows through me. I am a switching and thieving machine.
Stephen: Thou shalt not make too many rules
David: Not that I want to claim some mystical process, only that explanations are writings in themselves.
Stephen: Thou shalt not say “Thou shalt not” without trying it first.
David: Description gets the word out as much as the performance of the word does. It’s just a different set of words for different audiences with very different affects and effects.
Stephen: Thou shalt always concede defeat after Chris Ryan has had his third bottle of red wine.
David: Laurie Anderson once talked about giving impromptu new music concerts for groups of customs agents and airport security forces while touring Europe during Gulf War 1
Stephen: Thou shalt not think of “Oh Superman”
David: Anyone caught carrying that much electronic equipment must be suspicious and through the paranoia of the state, the word got out to places that it had probably never been before.
Stephen: Thou shalt not relocate to California.
David: I heard once in a semi-drunken foyer conversation that for Open City the writing of the grant application was the performance. I can go along with that. Often for version 1.0, the arguments are the performance. And they’re always verbose.
Stephen: As Ken Campbell says, everything in the universe is connected by hyphens.
David: Even when they don’t make sense.
Stephen: And a full stop is a hyphen coming straight at you.
David: I like Tim Etchell’s approach to writing for performance: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ. Here are 26 letters, now write a performance absolutely contingent but poetical nonetheless.