Australian Video Art Archive

Gary Willis and Eva Schramm


Strategies for Goodbye

00:07:30 1981

Although profoundly different in genre, Strategies for Goodbye was inspired by the spirit of Robert Graves autobiography Goodbye to All That (1929). Strategies for Goodbye was originally written as a critique of the conditions facing contemporary art production in 1980, by Gary Willis. This text was later produced as a text-based ‘Manifesto’ and widely circulated.

In 1981 the ‘Manifesto’ was produced as a post-futurist audio-broadcast for 3CR ‘Writer’s Radio’. It was this broadcast which provided the sound track for the video; although its analogue sound envelope was extensively altered, using decay, delay and cut-up techniques.

Eva Schramm delivers the ‘Manifesto’ text as a semiotic dance/performance in a costume made specifically for the performance. Schramm's dance subtitle, along with key words from the manifesto, are chroma-keyed into the real-time image of Willis’s face. Strategies for Goodbye was intended as an artist's critique of the insidious soft-sell of promotional politics and advertising common in the 60s and 70s. As such it is sets up an ambiguous relationship with the aesthetics of fascism, to counter the double-bind which art practice finds itself in. The following is a re-edited excerpt from the Manifesto (text 2 of 8).

Authority, that’s the key, 21 and it’s yours, and you haven’t got it, so we will try it again, until you get it, until we find new ways, and new opportunities, and new institutes, and new committees and new boards, until we find YES, or blind eye, or you never knew, until it hits, until change, changes, upsets the status quo, like a bank going broke, as it never will, as it always is, for us and them, in pidgin and Pitjantjatjara - so we talk black, talk back, but we say it binary code, we say it in chroma-key and bankcard, not because you listen, but because you accept it like Coke-a-Cola, but we fear it, like we never had it, like lotto numbers, like clockwork, only digital, and you take it, like a shark takes a bait, whether you need it or not, not because you know, but because you don’t know, whether you need it or not you just take it, like this, and whether you need it or not you’ve got it, like dreamtime, or show-time and smack, and you call it what you like, or you call it what you don’t like, but which ever way it goes, that is the way it is with new art; new tactics, new strategies and new ways, to get our share of the action - and there we have it, full cycle, back to the bottom of the pile again – trying to scramble out - 21 and its your and you haven’t got it.

DVD available