Berlin and Phenomena

Wolf Vostell


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This pamphlet records Vostell’s two titular large-scale performance pieces “Berlin” and “Phenomena,” both carried out in mid-60s Berlin alongside a host of accomplices. “Berlin” consisted of 100 timed events—performed in both public and private—over a seven hour period, with equal weight given to utterly mundane actions like “looking for a parking place,” and more spectacular actions like “following the second hand of a watch with a welding torch.” “Phenomena” was a Happening set in a labyrinth of automotive wreckage whose participants included Hermann Nitsch, K.H. Hödicke, and H.C. Artmann, among others.

Contemporary Art, Theory / History / Criticism
Originally published by Something Else Press between 1965 and 1967, the Great Bear Pamphlet series was envisioned by founding editor Dick Higgins as a “poor man’s keys to the new art,” or a means of exposing the most vital work of the time to a mass-market audience, and vice versa. The series made uncompromisingly radical work maximally accessible, with slim, chapbook-like publications of a mostly uniform, pared down design. Taken together, the pamphlets constitute a firsthand survey of the sixties avant-garde (Higgins, Barbara Moore, and Emmett Williams all had a hand in the editorial process) that is both sweeping and utterly unique, transmitting a still-vibrant signal of expanded possibility in art, music, and poetry. Presented here in a facsimile edition, the Great Bears epitomize the utopian vision of Higgins and Something Else.
16 pages
Paperback, 12.7x20.3 cm
Primary Information, 1st edition 2007