V Beyond the Ideo

Steve McCaffery

1983, 30:00 minutes, Colour, English


V Beyond The Ideo documents four of Steve McCaffery's performances and reproduces a 12 minute super-8 film entitiled Paradise Improved. McCaffery's performance art derives from a linguistic-philosophic impetus and since the mid-eighties has taken as its premise that performance is the condition of writing after the book as well as a singular political coordination of social proximities. The pieces include Captions (the world's first sound poem for the deaf); An Intention to be Wrong (which applies the principle of equivalence to truth, lie and description): Sisyphus (a witty, minimalist update of the old Greek myth) and Telepathic Performance for Robert Filliou, (an exploration via guesswork of the state of the homonym when applied through two languages). Paradise Improved is a performance documentation with a dialogic commentary added that takes a friendly poke at deconstructionist practice. The performance per se applies the principle of creative misunderstanding to John Milton's epic poem "Paradise Lost", which McCaffery "loses" in a forest and "regains" seven days later to create 'pataphysically' the blind bard's second epic.

This gathering preserves a valuable record of McCaffery's performance through the last decade: erudite, spicy with the sustained application of a corrosive, subversive wit. The tape was recipient of an Honourable Mention in the 1984 Videoculture International Competition: Performance Category and created a controversial stir when presented at the Modern Language Association 1989 Convention in Washington, D.C.

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