Where did the Heretics' Toolbox come from?


In the 1980s, while attending the School of Visual Arts in New York, I became very interested in Performance Art because of its expansion of creativity off the canvass and into everyday life. I launched a performance art troupe called Abstractjam and we participated in the East Village Performance Art scene. Later on I developed a new Performance Art form called Exodea (outside the theater) where I would take the audience to the scene of a story so that they could participate in the performance directly.

At the same time, I was interning for an artist named Douglas Davis who took Fluxus concepts of interacting with an audience through instructions and applied them to video. When Social Media came along I thought that the Fluxus concepts were well suited for this new media. For years I had held a secret wish to return to Performance Art, my first passion and I thought Social Media would be the way to make it work.

Then I read Seth Godin’s Tribes and it resonated with my old yearnings. My tribe has always been the heretics that Godin talks about. People who see things differently and have ideas that could disrupt the status quo. We now live in a time where the status quo is in severe need of disruption but most heretics I know are stuck because they don’t have the tools to act on their ideas. I know that the technical tools are there, but there also needs to be an openness to taking action and that requires a different set of tools. I decided to create a new performance art form called an Experientity where each audience member follows instructions that leads to their own experience outside their everyday lives. Social media then becomes the ideal medium for distributing this. I am hoping to put on a real life Experientity performance night in the near future.

In the meantime, I’ve set up this blog to explore these ideas. I am telling a story of a heretic and his struggle with acting on his ideas, I am giving Fluxus like instructions for people to have their own experiences related to these concepts and I am introducing closet heretics to the technical tools that will help them explore their own ideas. Through the comments in the blog, sharing on Facebook, and hashtags (#xprentt, #hereticstoolbox) on Twitter, I hope to expand the dialog with my tribe. In the spirit of my original Abstractjam days, I am fearlessly exploring areas like video and music where I do not have especially strong skills. I believe that anyone is free to use a tool regardless of their “credentials.” I’m also hoping to involve people who do have skills and knowledge to contribute to the ongoing creativity.

Thanks for joining me on this journey.

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