Project Proposal 2004-024: "My Father's Values"
rating: +220+x

Name: Guy Chesapeake

Title: My Father's Values

Material Requirements:

  • Batteries (9 V, only one necessary while piece is active, to be replaced as needed)
  • Copper wire (1 mm cross-sectional area, ~3 feet needed)
  • Silicon chips (5 cm x 5 cm, 3 needed)
  • Electrical components (see full list of necessary resistors, transistors, capacitors, etc. on back of page)
  • Solder
  • Straight pins (~20 needed)
  • Glass jar (1 needed, already in my possession)
  • Formaldehyde (2.5 L, already in my possession)
  • Human brain w/ reality-altering capabilities (1 needed, already in my possession)


Programmed electrical stimulation of the brain of a reality warper will result in the periodic appearance of not-quite-people within 15 m of the brain's location. These not-quite-people (hereafter "actors") will carry out a series of predetermined performance art pieces. The central device will be situated in the main exhibition hall and activated at midnight, resulting in the following performance schedule:

9:00 am - 5 actors will appear in a circular formation around the central piece, wearing nightwear. They will walk around the main exhibition hall while yawning loudly. Dissipates 5 minutes after activation.

11:00 am - 1 actor in a suit will appear within 5 m of the central piece. He/she will offer to shake the hand of various patrons and/or employees. Handshakes of insufficient pressure will result in the actor breaking the weak shaker's hand through grip strength. (Not sure what happens if you don't shake his/her hand. Wouldn't advise that.) Dissipates 20 minutes after activation.

12:30 pm - 1 actor wearing a tour guide uniform will appear. He/she will offer to give tours to entering patrons. Once 5 or so people have agreed, he/she will lead patrons around the main exhibition hall, explaining the significance behind each piece present there. These explanations will almost certainly be incorrect, based on superficial readings of each piece present. Tour guide will also occasionally insult the artist(s) who created a particular piece, unless he/she is talking about mine. Dissipates at conclusion of tour, which is about 30 minutes long. Also dissipates if next performance is scheduled to begin, and not enough people have agreed to take the tour.

4:00 pm - 2 actors (1 male, 1 female) will appear dressed in casual clothes. They will pretend to be ordinary patrons for 15 minutes. The couple will then get into an increasingly loud argument about something personal. This argument will escalate until one actor performs an act of violence against the other. Both will then weep loudly until dissipation. Dissipates 25 minutes after activation.

6:30 pm - 1 actor will appear. He/she will lie on floor in fetal position. He/she will not cry. Dissipates 45 minutes after activation.

8:00 pm - 1 actor will appear, with hammer and chisel. 1 stone block will also appear. The actor will use the hammer and chisel on the block in various places, eventually causing the whole thing to break apart into various chunks. He/she will yell profanities if approached. Dissipates 40 minutes after activation.

9:00 pm - 5 actors will appear as far away from the central piece as possible, dressed in nightwear. They will walk around the main exhibition hall, yawning loudly. 2 minutes prior to dissipation, they will form a circle around the central piece. Dissipates after 5 minutes.

Warping reality is supposedly quite tricky. Warping reality posthumously is probably harder, especially when doing so relies largely on electrocuting specific parts of the reality warper's brain. This is not the first time I've set up a piece like this, but I've never set up a piece of this style with this many performances per day. Things should go roughly according to plan. Expect some improvisation from the actors. Try to keep people from forcing them to get out of character, and everything should be fine. Actors should be easy enough to subdue if they get out of hand - they all have regular strength, with the exception of the handshake guy's hands.

Intent: I've heard a lot about how hard it is to grow up with the soul of an artist and overly pragmatic parents. I think that it's probably equally hard to grow up with the soul of an electrical engineer and a committed anartist as a father.

I can neither deny nor erase the impact that my father has had on my life. He used to tell me that he was the best I was going to get, and I'd do well to follow his example. As near as I can figure, he wanted to instill in me the following values:

  • Punctuality
  • A firm handshake
  • Self-serving bullshit Creativity
  • Self-confidence
  • Emotional reservation
  • Passion

I think we'd all do well to keep these in mind. I can't erase the scars of my childhood, but I can't ignore how much my father played a role in making me the man I am today.

I suppose it's out of a sort of reverence for my father that I ended up making art after all.

I suppose it's out of a sort of resentment towards him that I chose to do so by zapping his brain with electricity roughly fifty times a day.

My father and I used to have a lot of hatred for each other, but I think we're cool now.

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