Three Street Works Essay

750 words - 3 pages

In the printed context of 0 TO 9, Three Street Works’ multiple identities (as a document but also a poem) are not so out of the ordinary. It reproduces some of the same flexibility ascribed to the medium of poetry by Acconci and Mayer themselves. Although 0 TO 9 also published numerous works in language in its pages that its editors may or may not have thought of as poetry, Three Street Works actually resembled the most conventionally poetic of its contents. The capitalized title next to Burton’s name signifies the page’s status as such, as this is how other poems in the meticulously designed magazine were presented. Burton’s other addition is the adverb (sic), added in hand drawn brackets after “Rose.” The correct spelling in this case would be Rrose, with two “r’s,” the same way Marcel Duchamp spelled it when he, like Burton, dressed up as a woman. The second “r” creates a pun, making the character’s first name into “Eros” instead of “Rose.” But Burton’s (sic) does not tell us this, only that “Rose” is, for one reason or another, incorrect. Instead, it metaphorizes the incommensurability of performance and text, live work and documentation. Even the component of his performance that should be most easily translatable to text form, his character’s name, is miscommunicated when rendered as text. Whether Perreault or the Village Voice made the mistake, Three Street Works unobtrusively draws the reader’s attention to documentation gone awry, and only goes half of the way toward “correcting” it.
A rambling speech given by Burton in Iowa City in 1970 contradicts these claims and loosely describes somewhat different intentions for his Street Works. For one, Burton did not find his “invisible” performance dressed as a woman humorous in the way Perreault seems to. “I wanted to do something invisible, I wanted to be there and not be there. I did this, and it sounds funny but it wasn’t meant to be funny, by dressing as a woman. It wasn’t drag.” Instead the work was meant to embody the paradox of “saying something silent,” of doing something that produces nothing. ...

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