Fluxus Champion Contest, Festum Fluxorum Fluxus: Musik und Antimusik, Das Instrumentale Theater, Staatliche Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf
Male artists of different nationalities surround a bucket, competing who can piss for the longest time into it, while Nam June Paik stands by with a stopwatch. The “longest-pissing-timerecordholder” is honored with his national anthem. The contest depicted in the photograph was won by Frank Trowbridge, USA, at 59.7 seconds, so Paik honored him with the US national anthem.
Often discussed with Chronicle of a Beautiful Paintress (dedicated to Alison Knowles), in which national flags were to be stained with “monthly blood,” the performance is viewed as a work that relates the often tabooed image of bodily fluid to challenge national authority. Paik, however, says that his performance was not so much about challenging authority than about “physical music.” He later compared his TV to this work, stressing that “My TV is NOT the expression of personality, but merely a PHYSICAL MUSIC.” While it is possible to read the work as challenging the established authority of art or nations, it is also possible to consider it with the artist’s other groundbreaking works that focus on sound.
black & white photograph
Nam June Paik (artist and performer); Frank Trowbridge (performer)