Take Care of the World, 1975

1. Art — Consider art as a way of experiencing a fusion of "pleasure" and "insight", Reach this by impurity, or multiplicity of levels, rather than by reduction.

The importance of bisociation (Koestler). In painting, factual images of erotic or political character, for example, bisociated, within a game-framework, with each other and/or with "abstract" elements (character-forms, cf. my statements in Art and Literature 3) will not exclude but may incite to "meditational" experiences. These, in turn, do not exclude probing on everyday moral, social levels. This would hold true equally for theater. In two short plays of mine, The Strindberg Brothers and Hammarskjold on God, performed in Stockholm, dance-like "pure" sequences are interlocked by an actual interview with an aged couple on the cost of living and a representation of the Swedish crown prince burning himself like a Buddhist monk. An interview with a sex-change case is both documentary and pure sound (yells).

2. Games — Seen either as realistic models (not descriptions) of a life-span, of the Cold War balance, of the double-code mechanism to push the bomb buffon — or as freely invented rule-structures. Thus it becomes important to stress relations (as opposed to "free form" where everything can be related to anything so that in principle nothing is related). The necessity of repetition to show that a rule functions — thus the value of space-temporal form and of variable form. The thrill of tension and resolution, of having both conflict and non-conflict (as opposed to "free form" where in principle everything is equal). Any concept or quality can be a rule, an invariable. The high notes or yells of the sex-change interviewer in The Strindberg Brothers (see section 1 above), replacing and cued to the exact length of her questions, constitute a rule as well as the form-qualities of a painted, magnetized metal cut-out. The cut-out is an invariable as form, out- look. As long as another element is not superimposed on it, the cut-out will never vary visually, but its meaning will vary depending on its position. Rules oppose and derail subjectivity, loosen the imprinted circuits of the individual.

3. Multiples — Painting, sculpture, etc., today represent the most archaic art media, depending on feudal patrons who pay exorbitantly for uniqueness and fetish magic: the "spirit" of the artist as manifested in the traces of his brushwork or least in his signature (Yves Klein selling air against a signed receipt in 1958).

It is time to incorporate advances in technology to create mass-produced works of art, obtainable by rich or not rich. Works where the artist puts as much quality into the conception and the manufacturer as much quality into the production, as found in the best handmade works of art. The value of variable form: you will never have exactly the same piece as your neighbor. I would like to design an extensive series of puppet games, sold by subscription, in cut-out sheets; or 3-D dolls (BARBIES FOR BURROUGHS project). And robot theater elements arrange themselves by computer programming.

4. Style — If bisociation and games are essential, style is not. Whether a painting is made in a painterly, in a hard- edge graphic or in a soft photographic manner is of secondary interest, just as documentary, melodramatic and dance-like dimensions can interweave in a play. I am not much involved in formal balance, "composition" or, in general, art that results in mere decorative coolness (art that functions primarily as rugs, upholstery, wallpaper). Nor am I concerned with any local cute pop or camp quali- ties per se, be they the thirties, comics, Hollywood, Americana, Parisiana, Scandinavianisms.

5. Essentials — In order to seem essential to me a material, content or principle does not only have to attract me "emotionally", but should concern matters that are common and fundamental to people in our time, and yet be as "fresh", as untainted by symbolism, as possible. I deplore my incapacity to find out what is going on. To find out what life, the world, is about, in the confusion of propaganda, communications, language, time, etc.

Among the things I am curious about just now: where to find (and make a film of) the life geniuses, individuals who manage to put the highest degree of artistry (creativity, happiness, self-fulfillment) in every phase of their living. What are the relations and possibilities in art-and-technology, new media? Chemical/electrical brain stimulation and ESP. Opera-theater-Happenings-dance.

6. Risk reforms — Attitude to society: not to take any of the existing systems for granted (capitalist, moderately socialized or thoroughly socialized). Refuse to presume that "sharpness" of the opposite systems will mellow into a worthwhile in-between. Discuss and otherwise influence the authorities toward trying out certain new concepts.

The reforms mentioned below are of course not proposed with the huge, rigid warfare states like Russia or the U.S.A. in mind, but rather small welfare states like Sweden, groping for goals. The reforms are all more or less risky — which should be considered an asset: they will appear not as another series of regulations, but as events that might somewhat shake the chronic boredom of well-fed aim-lessness and shove the country in question into international prominence.

7. Arms — Complete and unilateral disarmament (apart from a small permanent force submitted to the United Nations). Small countries will soon have to make the choice between this and acquiring nuclear weaponry anyway. The risk of disarming is minimal, as only other small countries now (or even later with nuclear arms) can be deterred. This step would, among other things, release tax income, man- and brainpower for other reforms.

8. Terror — Instead of prisons, create forcibly secluded, but large, very complete and very "good" communities (everyday Clubs Méditerranéen) where offenders could gradually find satisfying ways of living without further offenses. The risk would of course be the suffering of victims, with potential offenders no longer deterred.

Value: having to find out what makes a "good" community; corralling the discontented part of the population; finding out if punishment deters; finding out if a major part of the population will turn criminal in order to be taken care of in a closed community rather than live in the open one.

9. Utilities — Free basic food, transportation and housing paid through taxes. Risk: "No one will care to work." Value: true equality—everyone paying taxes according to what he or she earns. As opposed to the present token equality, where an apple costs differently to each buyer.

10. Profits — Steer away from redundant, self-revolving production (five to ten different companies producing the same detergent— competition mainly on the level of marketing gimmicks) by letting government agencies assign projects to the two or three most qualified bidders (like military contracts plus limited competition). What to be produced thus will be decided centrally by the country; how to produce, by the manufacturer; and how to divide the profits, by manufacturers and workers. An attempt to combine planning and incentive. The risk of less variety and lack of incentive outweighed by the chance to diminish the alienation in ordinary blindfolded work; of replacing publicity with information; and primarily to divert brain- and manpower to neglected fields like housing, pleasure, education, etc.

11. Politics — Government by experts and administrators. Delegate the shaping of policies and the control of experts to a body of "jurors" replaced automatically at given intervals, chosen from outstanding persons in all fields. Abolish politicians, parties, voting. Perhaps have referendums. Voting and active participation on mainly regional, labor and such levels where participation is concrete and comprehensible.

Find and channel some geniuses into creative administrative and diplomatic work, instead of excluding them from such leadership. Risk: nothing can be worse than the present predicament of power games on local and global levels between smalltime politicians whose sole expertise lies in acquiring and keeping power.

12. Pleasure — "The ecstatic society ". Research and planning in order to develop and mass produce "art" as well as "entertainment" and drugs for greater sensory experiences and ego-insight. New concepts for concert, theater and exhibition buildings; but first of all pleasure houses for meditation, dance, fun, games and sexual relations (cf. the "psychedelic discothéque" on the West Coast, and the multiscreen discothéques of Gerd Stern and Andy Warhol). Utilize teleprinter, closed-circuit TV, computers, etc., to arrange contacts, sexual and other. Incite to creative living, but also approve "passive" pleasures by means of new drugs - good drugs, strong and harmless, instead of perpetuating the use of our clumsy, inherited drugs, liquors, stimulants. Refine the activating (consciousness-expanding) new drugs. And develop euthanasia drugs to make dying easy, fast and irrevocable for terminal cases and prospective suicides.

The risk of people not caring to work anymore would be eliminated by the fact that people would have superficial benefits attractive enough to make it worthwhile to work in order to obtain them.

P.S. In this Manifesto (especially subjects no. 6. 11 and 12) there are several ideas expressed to which I no longer subscribe.

Öyvind Fahlström
New York