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Angeliki Chaido Tsoli

first performed on February 28, 2020
Defibrillator Performance Art Space DFBRL8R
performed once in 2020


C.R. Cooper

Antwerp, Belgium & Chicago, Illinois


It was to be a live participation by Heinrich Obst in an investigative series “What remains” (on the sacred, the lost, and the forgotten relics of live art), instigated by Ieke Trinks during the month of February at the Dfbrl8r in Chicago, and just about everything that could go wrong did—but in the end it was a good participation and exercise for Covid-distancing still to come. We were to select a remnant from a performance at dfbrl8r and use it for a new work/insight. I chose a broken Boston Pencil sharpener and was going to head to Chicago for the 4th section—but my application for funds didn’t pan out, and I was out of a job and so the cost of participating became prohibitive. Time to hark back to Fluxus with plain instructions for use: in this case more specific and in a sort of dialog with a proxy executioner of the work: Chicago native C.R Cooper, who took my referential stories of a teacher in my 1960s school to heart and even got herself a beehive hairdo specially for the occasion. We tested a skype-link to be used live during the performance evening, with myself readying a pile of pencils on this side of the Atlantic for a simultaneous sharpening-and-storytelling session.

I had not realized at the outset how important Chicago was to the development and production of these once abundant crank-operated sharpeners—in fact most sharpeners in the US were probably produced there and some of the earliest union strike actions took place at APSCO—so lots to talk about in addition to personal experiences and memories connected to these types of sharpeners. Of course, investigations also touched on pencils and their origins, with the story of Thoreau being one of the more interesting digressions… and then in the course of proceedings, the aspect of pomegranate seeds that had been part of the original use of this specific machine were integrated in a simultaneous sharpening action in Chicago and Antwerp with various participants.

Image description: C.R. Cooper assisting visitor in the sharpening process while conversing and recording and making sure it all runs smoothly.