Early Bird 1973-74

Early Bird, Rugby, May 1973Early Bird, Rugby, May 1973

Early Bird was presented in a number of different venues during 1973 and 1974. Standing as seen in these photographs, with tape over my eyes, I had a long piece of string protruding from a hole in tape covering my mouth. The string hung down and trailed out over the floor for about fifteen feet (five metres) in front of my body. Over the course of the action, which probably took about 45-60 minutes, I chewed the string, pulling more and more of it into my mouth. Eventually I had the whole length of string in a ball in my mouth. For the viewer it was a slow, strangely fascinating, somewhat humorous, but also uncomfortable experience – like watching a bird pull a worm out of the ground. The moment when the end of the string disappeared tended to be accompanied by a sigh of relief from those who were watching. For me it was a simple silent action that developed self-discipline and patience. In the version done in Montreal I wore a rather exotic costume made from grass, twigs, stones and leaves collected from a nearby forest edge. The tape over the mouth seemed to evoke the act of being silenced, being unable to speak. I had in mind the plight of many native Americans, who were muted, marginalised and disenfranchised in their own land.

Early Bird June 73Early Bird June 73
Early Bird  - close upEarly Bird – close up
Early Bird Montreal 1974Early Bird, Vehicule Gallery, Montreal 1974
Early Bird, Nottingham, 1973Early Bird, Nottingham, 1973 – score
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