HONEY MCMONEY & PHOENICIA PETTYJOHN
Playing with ideas of representation, re-creation/re-performance, the durational experience and the lasting or lingering empire, “Empire” faithfully remakes Andy Warhol’s Empire as a durational performance. We are asking, or re-asking, “What is the relationship of moving to still?” “How long is long?” “What is an event?” “Can anything stand in for anything else?” “What are the symbols of empire and how are they enforced?” “What is the future of empire?” “What events change everything?” “What is changed?”
According to Warhol, the point of this film—perhaps his most famous and influential cinematic work—is to “see time go by.”1 Our goal was to just really stand there. We return to inform you that time does not go by; you go through it.
Taking place on my rooftop in downtown Oakland in the wake of the police raid on Occupy Oakland six blocks away, Pettyjohn directs as I continuously stand for 6½ hours.
With authority, power and persistence in space still temporally and proximally looming, Warhol’s Empire—filmed in the context of the Civil Rights movement’s mass confrontation over racial and social injustice,2 and just days after the shooting of James Howell and the ensuing Harlem Riot of 1964—provides a potent framework for meditation on our own confrontations with “Empire.”
1 MoMA website: moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=89507