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the "Philosopher's Union Member's Mouthpiece Mega-Project"

Sometime in late '87(ev), I heard about the PXL-2000 - the new "toy" video camcorder that Fischer-Price had put out that uses high bias "audio" cassettes as video tapes. Seeing 1 demonstrated, it seemed most useful to me for close-ups. With this in mind, I decided to shoot a series of people's mouths. My friend & collaborator, John Berndt, returned from a Festival of Plagiarism in London & mentioned that in casual conversation, Stefan Szczelkun had laughingly mentioned the idea of founding a "Philosopher's Union". I was struck with the idea of combining the proposed "Philosopher's Union" with my planned PXL-2000 project & the "Philosopher's Union Member's Mouthpieces Mega-Project" was born.

I began shooting close-ups of friends' mouths doing monologues (or whatever) about their philosophies. As those of you who have PXL-2000 camcorders know, the tapes run thru the cameras at approximately 15ips - as such a tape that would last for 45 minutes per side when used as an audio cassette only lasts about 5&1/2 to 6 minutes per side when used as a PXL tape. Working within this restriction, I decided that each "philosopher" would only have 5&1/2 to 6 minutes in which to express themselves. Each person has been encouraged to use props & make-up. People have also been encouraged to use means of expression other than words. Every participant has received a membership card designed by John Berndt (as shown in the upper left - the "Keep Thinking Live" motto is a take-off of the English Musicians' Union's "Keep Music Live").

After the 1st 20 were completed, I transferred them to VHS & added titles & digital processing at a lab. A copy of the resultant 2 hour tape was sold to the Enoch Pratt Free Library for $100.00 - covering the cost of the tapes & the studio time.

In the spring of '88, I went to England, Scotland, & France where my companion Laura Adele Trueseal (the good provider of the PXL equipment) & I shot 20 more mouthpieces (using special battery packs to enable us to use the PXL monitor) - giving us the possible distinction of the 1st people to ever use this camera outside of the us@ & canadada. Excerpts from these were incorporated into our 2 hour quasi-documentary movie about the trip entitled "Homeless Movies" - & we got the pleasure of surprising Stefan by showing him how his passing comment had blossomed into something much larger than he'd expected.

Since then, I decided that it would be a "good" idea to shoot 50,000 of these mouthpieces! - 50,000 seeming like a sufficiently grandiose figure to make this a remarkably immense project!

This is where YOU come in. Shoot 20 "Philosopher's Union Member's Mouthpieces" using a PXL-2000 camcorder, make a VHS copy of them for me at S(tandard) P(lay) speed, send the VHS tape to me & I'll send you the slick "1st 20 Philosopher's Union Member's Mouthpieces" VHS video in trade along with 20 membership cards. Please identify who did each mouthpiece legibly. If you should be so extraordinary as to send me 20 more mouthpieces then I'll send you a VHS copy of "Homeless Movies" (&, of course, 20 more IDs). I'll also keep you informed about what uses (if any) that I put your mouthpieces to.

Laura Trueseal has already contributed 9 more (shot in Albuquerque), I've shot 4 more (shot in Baltimore of friends visiting from out of town), Uncle An has made 7 (shot in Atlanta), Thomas Clay (of Tampa - now moved to Atlanta) has shot, at least, 7 that I know of (unfortunately lost as of last checking), Caroline Armstrong has "performed" (shot by Uncle An), & George McWilliams has contributed 5 (shot in Baltimore).

Unfortunately, Fischer-Price has withdrawn the PXL from the market already, so this mega-project is going to be highly dependent on those few of you who already have them. So, GET TO WORK! (or PLAY) & shoot those mouthpieces & send them to me! I hope to, someday, edit all 50,000 of them together (in excerpted form) to create 1 long, tangential, run-on philosophical sentence!

c/o Widémouth Tapes
P.O.Box 382
Baltimore, MD, 21203, us@