Making History

For solo performer, with or without collaborators

by Matthew Easton


This is a performance in the form of a retrospective art exhibition.

The Project Plan below is a basic procedure for creating a work of historical fiction. The project will last as many weeks as there are years in the performers life. The first 15 to 20 weeks of the project are to be devoted to fulfilling items (1) to (5) of the project plan. The remainder of the project duration is to be spent addressing (6) and (7). The culmination of the performance is an exhibition, concert or other retrospective-like presentation. The presentation is not part of the project duration-- it exists outside of the timeline.

Project Plan

  1. Prepare a timeline that begins in the year of your birth and ends in the current year.

  2. Populate the timeline with significant cultural events, e.g., important paintings, manifestoes, exhibitions, performances, political movements, inventions, etc.

  3. Collect documentation, photographs, memorabilia, period knick-knacks and furniture, audio and video recordings, critical writings, memoirs, oral histories, etc., with reference to item (2) above.

  4. Adopt a pseudonym and a personality to go along with it. Your true legal name and self-described personality may also satisfy this requirement.

  5. Invent a biography that places you among the people and events listed in item (2) above. The document should include a plausible description of your creative life to be used in items (6) and (7) below. The shape of this creative biography may naturally fall into periods or it may not.

  6. Using any available technology, create, reproduce or alter documents such as the writings, photographs, recordings, oral histories, etc., listed in item (3) above, to support the biography. For example, scan and digitally manipulate historical photographs to include your own image, or write and format a faux review so that it appears to be a reprint from a famous but now defunct magazine.

  7. Use the timeline, creative biography and supporting documentation to develop a collection of representative art objects. The timeline scale (1 week = 1 year) controls the time allotted to create the works.


The culmination of the performance is an exhibition, concert or other retrospective-like presentation. The ideal presenting venue will be a known gallery, museum, concert hall or theater consistent with the nature of the oeuvre produced. It is left to the performer to determine the extent to which the work will function as parody, as cultural or political critique, as wish fullfilment, or as fraud.


It is presumed that the performer will credit and/or compensate collaborators, conspirators and contributers fairly.

The composer can take no responsibility for legal, moral, personal safety, or financial issues that could arise from a performance that he does not personally supervise.

Copyright (c) 2000 by Matthew Easton