1977-1978 City Performance
City Performance #1
Silkscreen 3 x4 m on 54 Billboards
Collection FRAC Lorraine
Move out of the gallery, the museum, the obvious places. Accept the rules of the street: legibility = redundancy. Dot the urban space with 54 signs, establishing a network that can reach motorists through ‘road-blocks’ on traffic routes, and also pedestrians, those who never get out of their own neighbourhood: housewives, children, old people; knowing from the outset that the dice are loaded.
For Paris, 200 posters are needed for minimal legibility. To come despite everything, one year later, in memory tests, in second place behind Chaumes cheese (400 posters = 45%). NI 54 posters = 37% memorization. Astonishment of the advertising people, as in terms of communication, only the target audience remembers.
NI, an operation with no follow-up, no teasing, no hidden publicity from the Ministry of Culture. Just anonymous position-taking. Ultimate negation, absolute truth, universal circuit-breaker used by Western logicians and Eastern sages.
NI (neither/nor): NEITHER white NOR non-white NOR black NOR non-black. So 37% of the population of Paris are concerned by this 3m x 4m message? Despite plenty of media coverage (TV, radio, press), apparently total lack of feedback, in contrast with closed-circuit operations. A few chance encounters: a photographer sending snapshots to Japan. A customs officer who each day asked himself questions on this NI, readable as such in the street. Only the diagonal conveys meaning, and outside of a public of people in the know, very few people accept forms for what they are. They must necessarily make reference to something. NI, printed in black and white (forbidden by law) because the text could pass for an image. NI, monumental typography in a place usually reserved for futile writing; they invite passers-by to take charge of their dream, to get away from compulsory consumer places, the first stage towards total discrimination.