Marcus Civin

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Poster for American Rifle, Part 1
Dried Orange Peel Axes, 2009 Hydrostone, Orange Peels, Dirt, Cake Frosting, Photograph By Renee Martin
Clown Shoes, 2010 Shoes Covered In Wax, Tape, On Plaster Base With Found Bits Embedded, Photograph By Renee Martin
Orgone Playing Cards and Grape Stem Brush, 2010 Found Objects, Paint, Orgone Matter, Photograph By Renee Martin
Parents and Children, 2010, Trophy, pears, strapping, on mat board Photograph By Renee Martin
Quick Facts
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research performance, publication, arts-education landscape, photography, conceptual, sculpture, exhibition/performance

In performance, I explore relationships between the body, economy,
humor, and resourcefulness. My work as a visual artist is informed in
large part by research into the lives, writings, and creations of both
notorious and little-known historical figures. My performance art
pieces incorporate re-imagined historical objects, and appropriated
language and gestures. My recent performances are informed by research
into subjects such as the early films of D.W. Griffith, the lives of
the American soldiers who dropped the first Atom Bombs, Upton Sinclair
and American Labor History, Wilhelm Reich’s Orgone Accumulators, and
the National Rifle Association. I deliberately confuse historical time
periods, to build absurd, polytemporal constructions, to consider
resourcefulness, in general, as a necessity for personal, cultural,
and national survival.

Here is a text I wrote that Material Press included in a recent show,
in London, at the artist-run space Am Nuden Da:

Collect objects. Treat collected objects roughly. Teeth are so much
chewing gum. Collect specific objects, collect blues: blue blood,
Orgone Energy of the universe in liquid form. Open. All objects open.
Corday’s knife forces out an old song. Wear a tub. Balance. Balancing
improbable balances of opened objects—a platform with two legs, a
cracked plastic tub holds not only blue blood, but also—figured just
so—the tub will hold Orgone, Betty and Dupree, Marat and Corday...
Action. The body in space interacts with specific collections of
re-purposed, improbably balanced, opened objects. In front of an
audience, a demonstration of this kind of interaction can be a
demonstration of a survival ritual. A demonstration of a survival
ritual is different than an actual survival ritual.

Outside: Firecrackers. Inside: light a match. Put the matches outside.
An orderly brings the matches back inside. Light a match. On a wobbly
table full of holes, place a plastic ice cube tray filled with cruddy,
plaster, teeth-like, ice-cube-like objects. Dip these teeth cubes in a
clear container of blue liquid. Fill mouth with a teeth cube and blue
liquid. Sing with mouth full: “Betty went to jail, could not see
Dupree. Betty told the jailer, tell him these words for me: I come to
see you, baby, but I could not see your face. I come to see you, baby,
but I could not see your face.” Fill armpits, fill back behind neck,
fill behind knee. Prostrate self. Choose a numbered card from a pile
of cards. Fill however many orifices, joints, body crevices, with the
teeth cubes, as corresponds to the number on the chosen card. Put the
table and teeth cubes outside. An orderly brings the table and teeth
cubes back inside. Choose another card. Fill self again, as before.
Sing. On a small platform, place a mangled, grey, plastic tub. With an
abused grey pail, fill one quart at a time from a jug to pail, to tub,
until half the tub is filled with fetid, greasy, blue-brown liquid.
Sit in the tub. Reading from a gold book, chant and pound a stick:
“Mt. Vernon, Altamont, Neverland Ranch. Burn hills, burn hillocks,
burn patches of grass. The corner of lunch cart and wheat field, he
doesn’t so much paint the trees as partially fill them with runny
eggs. I will die. Paint my face first.” On a light box, place a
pyramid pile of white rocks. Rifle through the rocks to find, at the
bottom of the pile: a waxy tooth and clown shoes. Put on clown shoes.
Fill mouth with tooth. Climb back into the tub. Chant. Disrobe in the
tub. Get out of the tub—clean up and change clothes. Put tub outside.
An orderly brings the tub back inside. Shuffle cards, talk sensibly
about death. Bring cards outside.

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