My Calling (Card) #1 Meta-Performance (1987-88; 00:58:00) 1 Favorite 



Jan 30 1987


Chicago IL, New York NY

Adrian Piper created 'calling cards' that can stand alone as individual works, but Piper also used them in performances. The works described here include edited documentary footage from two performances (one in Chicago, one in Harlem) based on My Calling Card #1 (1986, offset lithograph); and Piper's two other calling cards: My Calling Card #2 (1986) that informs the recipient that she would like to be left alone; and My Calling Card #3: Guerrilla Performance for Disputed Territorial Skirmishes (2012) that asks the recipient not to touch her.

My Calling (Card) #1 Meta-Performance (1987-88; 00:58:00)
From the Adrian Piper Research Archive:
"Documentary footage edited together from two audience-participatory meta-performances, the first with an all-white audience, the second with a mixed but predominantly black audience. I call them meta-performances because in them I invite a larger audience into self-reflective participatory critique of a one-on-one interpersonal performance for which I present documentation. In this case, the one-on-one performance was of My Calling (Card) #1. The first meta-performance, at the Randolph Street Gallery in Chicago in 1987, took that performance as the object of critique. The second meta-performance, at the Studio Museum in Harlem, took the Randolph Street Gallery meta-performance as the object of critique. In that performance I suggest that whoever watches the tape edited from these two meta-performances will be participating in a third level of self-conscious meta-performance, taking the combined tape itself as the object of critique. The level of audience engagement in both venues was very high and the discussion quite heated. Interesting dynamics developed between black and white participants in the Studio Museum venue."

Description of the Chicago performance, from the Randolph Street Gallery archives at Art Institute of Chicago:
Documentation of the January 30, 1987 performance and discussion of "My Calling (Card), No. 1 & 2."
Performance artist and philosopher Adrian Piper presents "My Calling (Card) No. 1 & 2." These are reactive performances designed for social situations, and the audience is encouraged to discuss the controversial personal politics of the pieces with Piper. A videotape of her performance work "Funk Lessons," which is about the sociology of black pop music," is also screened. –[Source: Event Calendar -- January/February 1987]
More information about the Chicago performances can be found here:

The text of My Calling Card #1 reads:
Dear Friend,
I am black.
I am sure you did not realize this when you made/laughed at/agreed with that racist remark. In the past, I have attempted to alert white people to my racial identity in advance. Unfortunately, this invariably causes them to react to me as pushy, manipulative, or socially inappropriate. Therefore, my policy is to assume that white people do not make these remarks, even when they believe there are no black people present, and to distribute this card when they do.
I regret any discomfort my presence is causing you, just as I am sure you regret the discomfort your racism is causing me.

My Calling Card #2 (1986, offset lithograph) reads:
Dear Friend,
I am not here to pick anyone up, or to be picked up. I came here alone because I want to be here, ALONE.
This card is not intended as part of an extended flirtation.
Thank you for respecting my privacy.

My Calling Card #3: Guerrilla Performance for Disputed Territorial Skirmishes (2012) has text on both sides.
The other reads: FASSEN SIE MICH NICHT AN. (Don’t touch me).

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