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Yvonne Rainer : Carriage Discreteness
Performance Engineer : Per Biorn

October 15 and 21, 1966

Performed by: Carl Andre, Becky Arnold, Rose Marie Castoro, William Davis, Letty Lou Eisenhauer, June Ekman, Ed Iverson, Kathy Iverson, Julie Judd, Michael Kirby, Alfred Kurchin, Benjamin Lloyd, Meredith Monk, Steve Paxton, Carol Summers. Second performance: Performance continuity directed by Robert Morris. Stage Manager: Rudy Perez.  Styrofoam beams: Courtesy Carl Andre.  Slides: Hollis Framton.

Yvonne Rainer's piece during 9 Evenings

Performers interacting with set pieces in Yvonne Rainer's piece at 9 Evenings.

Artist Statement:

A dance consisting of two separate but parallel (simultaneous) continuities and two separate (but equal) control systems. 1. Performer continuity controlled by me from a remote “plotting” table where I will spontaneously choose the actions and placement of people and objects (from a pre-determined list of possibilities) and communicate those decisions to the 10-odd performers via walkie-talkie. 2.  Event continuity to be controlled by TEEM (theatre electronic environment modular system) in its memory capacity. This part will consist of sequential events that will include movie fragments, slide projections, light changes, TV-monitored close-ups of details in the dance-proper, tape recorded monologues and dialogues, and various photo-chemical phenomena, several involving ultra-violet light.

For Carriage Discreteness, Rainer created two parallel sequence of activities: what she called 'performer continuity' was to be controlled by her, the 'event continuity' was to be pre-programmed. 


For the ‘performer continuity’, the floor spaces of the Armory were divided into 20 rectangles and numbered in chalk from 1 to 20.  In the numbered spaces Rainer spread out slats, slabs, cubes, planks, sheets and beams of different materials: Masonite, wood, foam rubber, styrene, metal, plywood, and cardboard.  Carl Andre made 5 Styrofoam beams for the work. Yvonne Rainer, sitting on a small balcony high up on a side wall of the Armory, transmitted instructions to ten performers wearing wrist receivers, to move objects from one numbered rectangle to another. 


Parallel to the human performances, the preprogrammed events, were set in motion when her piece began. These 'events' were programmed on ACTAN drum switches in a device built and programmed by Per Biorn; and were triggered automatically and continued throughout the piece as the performers moved objects around the floor. The sequential events included; excerpts from a James Cagney film; slide projections of performance posters from her earlier works and animals running; a taped conversation between Lucinda Childs and William Davis about a movie; a weather balloon rising and being pulled back down; a Plexiglas globe and a lighted Lucite rod traversing the space on a high wire; a trash can that opens and drops pieces of foam rubber; two people in the audience making sounds through bull horns; a super ball that drops and bounces. On one of the screens at the back of the performance space, was a film Never Give a Sucker an Even Break by W.C. Fields. When he drops the bricks he was juggling, the screen collapsed. The collapse was designed by Biorn who rigged the nine sections of the screen with ropes that, on cue, invisibly pulled them apart


At the end of the piece, Steve Paxton launched himself from the balcony on a rope swing attached to the ceiling, swinging back and forth until the swing came to a halt.

Preparations & Technical Elements


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