DO IT is dedicated to Alighiero e Boetti
Marcel Duchamp can be said to be the origin of procedural instructions related to art works. On the one hand there is the "Unhappy Ready Made" (ready-made malheureux) from 1919 where, from Argentina, the artist gives instructions on how to make a balcony, and on the other hand his notes with the title "Spéculations" where instructions are to be found such as "Make a picture or a sculpture in the same way as you roll off a roll of film", or "Buy a dictionary and cross out the words which are to be crossed out", Marcel Duchamp commented on this: "All these notes had one thing in common: they were all written in the infinitive. À l'infinitiv, that means do these things, finally do what I have never done."
With this formula of the infinitive Marcel Duchamp adopts an attitude against the artist putting himself centre-stage. His instructions appear as strategies parallel to the Ready Mades and enable. all the subjective tastes of the artist to be eliminated and – in contrast to Ready Made, which ages – always to be the in present where the work is at the time.
With Cage musical scores become instructions which authorise many versions. The art work in parody and the reversing of function: the sources explode. Any concept of an original has been given up.
DO IT completely rejects the concept of an original in favour of an open conception for the realisation of the work. All works are realised on the spot, based on the precise guidelines of the artist in the form of operating instructions. The starting point is often everyday life with its objects and actions. In contrast to the theatre, DO IT has neither a beginning nor an end.
DO IT – TV-Version, museum in progress, 1995/96
In contrast to the museum version of DO IT which, since the Klagenfurt premiere in 1994 (Ritter Kunsthalle), has been on tour through various museums in Europe and America (Glasgow, Nantes.) the DO IT – TV-version is no longer connected to a particular exhibition space. As a result of being broadcast on television the distribution of DO IT can take on viral proportions. As part of the ORF culture programme "10 1/2", an artist's instructions for household use will be shown each week for three months in a clip of 1–3 minutes.
The starting point is often familiar everyday objects and happenings which can be activated or animated by the person watching in accordance with the artist's instructions. The significance of the instructions grows with the various interpretations and performances.