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First Manifesto of Neoist Performance and the Performance of Neoism

In Neoism individual performances are approached not as isolated pieces but rather as part of the performance of a much larger work, Neoism itself. As such everything done under the banner of Neoism, from writing a poem or letter to being interviewed by a newspaper or magazine is to be considered a performance which in turn forms part of the performance of a movement called Neoism.

Of course the performance of a movement called Neoism is simply a cynical play to gain attention for the individual performance pieces which go to make up the performance of Neoism. However the performance of Neoism is no more contrived or unreal than the performance od Dada, Futurism, Surrealism, Situationism or Fluxus.

In the performance of Neoism actual performance pieces play an important role because in Neoism we have chosen to perform a late twentieth century movement whose precursors are Situationism and Fluxus, so it logically follows that the artistic substance of Neoism will be performance and text, especially manifestos, rather than painting which characterizes nineteenth century art movements.

In Neoist performance as the performance of Neoism actions should be humorous, with particular emphasis laid on the slapstick, farce and parody. Neoist performance emphasizes roughness, irregularity and sudden variation. It is boisterous and because of our belief in relative naturalism and synoptic realism always deadpan.

Neoist performance and the performance of Neoism is concerned not with a collection of image but rather with a social relation among people mediated by images. Neoism is concerned not so much with the creation of myth but the uses to which myth can be put once it has been created.

Thus in the performance of Neoism we are more concerned with creating a media representation of ourselves than with what we actually create physically in our performance pieces. We are not so much interested in our imaginative vision as in what we are popularly imagined to be.

However the performance of Neoism is as much concerned with actions as with ideas. Without actions our ideas are a useless amorphous mass. The popular imagination is attuned to actions and not ideas and it is with the popular imagination that we intend to attune ourselves. Like other post-modernist groups we intend to antagonize the popular imagination and we see that action is the only means of achieving this.

For these reasons Neoist performance should always be irrational, illogical and spectacular. Such actions we will claim are a radical tool in the fight for total subjectivity. Under this guise Neoist performance will flout the lies of science with impunity and simultaneously free itself from the bondage of unreality.

Neoist performance and the performance of Neoism consist solely of acts and actions to spread the idea of Neoism. All Neoist acts and actions are necessarily self-referential. Any act or action which is not self-referential is not only not Neoist but quite obviously impossible. As long as the Neoist performer bears these facts in mind there is no way he can go wrong.

Monty Cantsin in SMILE No. 6, Dec. 1984