January 9, 2007

Other's words

Melbourne based “performing artist”, Danielle Freakley, plans to spend the next two and a half years speaking only in stolen quotes, no matter the situation.

[Let’s just assume right now that she doesn’t have a job to worry about.]

Furthermore, after uttering her quotes, she will whisper the reference to the quote – to herself, we gather, rather than to the recipient of the quote.

[Listening to her trying to place an order for a de-caff, low fat, soya milk, with hazelnut, might be mildly interesting – once. Likewise, ordering a large, super supreme, thin and crusty pizza, no capsicum, no olives, lots of anchovies, extra mushrooms and some pineapple.]

The URL given is for an arty group, who provide funding, but there is no mention of Ms Freakley. Perhaps they are funding her adventures, but don’t want to own up to it.

Now, my only question is this: why do this for two and a half years?

Won’t that be akin to performing the same party tricky over and over again, ad nausea, until every person you meet wants to commit an act of violence against you, even nuns?

I wonder who she will be when she has finished with this 24 hour a day artisitc performance project and how she will relearn the art of interacting with people, and living a life, with nothing more than herself as a prop.

Via free commuter newspaper - MX - January 09, 2007


  1. There's a saying for everything:

    On ordering drinks: If the Frappe fits, I'll bear it.

    On ordering food: I'll have the Rest In Pizzas - RIP.

    On going to the doctor for a medical complaint: I'm sick! I need an anecdote to my illness! I need a cure for what pales me!

    On going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting: I'm sick! I need an ale for what cures me!

  2. I'm sorry Tim, did you, or did you not, whisper the primary source for each quote after typing it?

  3. Man, that's such bullshit. I agree wholeheartedly with Tim that there is a quote for every situation, but I would despair of ever finding a person who knew them all.

    I suspect Freakely is gonna spend two years alternately shoe-horning generic quotes onto any and every given situation, and shutting the hell up because she can't think of anything to say.

    Then again, you get get all Baudrillard about it and argue that everything is a quote these days, and be default nothing is, so she can say whatever the hell she wants and attribute it to anyone, or herself (I wonder what FDR ordered for pizza?).

    I went through a stage in my late teens and early twenties of carrying a small quote dictionary with me at all times and reading it in the innumerable hours I spent waiting for public transport. My theory was that the dictionary was small enough I could perhaps memorise a decent selection of quotes.

    It worked, to an extent, though I've forgotten lots now. But still, a quote for every situation? I wasn't even close.

    PS I'm back from holidays and I answered your question about blogger beta.

  4. Quotes are great, but the whole point of them is that they should facilitate communication, make it more natural; they shouldn't be an artifical limit to communication. The best quotes aren't the ones you intentionally memorise, though, they're the ones that stick in your memory persistently for days and months and years after reading a poem/story, or seeing a good film.

  5. Excellent point Timmy; quotes should facilitate communication, not confound it.

    Thanks Patrick - I'll pop by and catch up with your thougts. Jacob has already shared his, which were along the lines of: "Don't do it!!!".

  6. Really, why do this at all, and then, why 2 1/2 years? Why not just 2?

    She suffers from the LOOK AT ME syndrome.

  7. ... not to mention "LISTEN TO ME" syndrome ..

  8. Anonymous9:15 PM

    G'day Bloggers,
    This is Danielle Freakley, the Quote Generator.

    There are rules to the project. which were not mentioned in the very short article printed the other day.

    The website should be up soon with all of the relevant information so I apologise.

    The project runs for an entirety of 3 years. It began in late October 2006. Each part of the project has a different phase and each phase runs for a separate time period. I have chosen three years because, that is the average amount of time to achieve a bachelor degree or to be toilet trained. I think it is an adequate amount of time to learn a language also.

    The first phase (current) runs for a year and a half. I talk in quotes from popular culture, movies, books, plays, poetry, advertisements etc. Authors cannot be anyone I have known.

    The second phase: I will talk in quotes from people I have spoke to in my life face to face e.g. family, friends, lecturers, employers etc.

    The third phase: I will talk in quotes from things I have said in the past, taken from diaries, school essays, video and audio recordings of things I have said. Nothing in this phase can be quoted from the present; all quotes must be at least 1 month old.

    I do not have to quote at home, in work situations, in writing, on the phone or with people I have spent over 100 hours with or in organisational situations e.g. asking for directions, or asking a specific question about my account at the bank. All other times I operate in quote.

    I am treating quote generation project like learning a new language. I am still pretty shaky at it, but as time goes by, it becomes more natural.

    The project is completely self-funded thus far. The URL is for the gallery, which held the Melbourne launch.

    Hope this has cleared some things up.

    As for the 'LOOK AT ME/LISTEN TO ME' syndrome comment. well, performance art does a bit of that, it's come with the craft or with anyone who uses themselves as a guinnie pig for their work. Some artists use paint as their medium, others use people, and people just happen to be my absolute favourite medium. It is not just me who performs in this project but the development and analysing of conversations formed by other participants and in turn quote generator adapting to function within that realm.

    So yes there is an element of 'look at me' but at the same time, you should ask yourself the question 'what are you looking at?' Who am I to look at or listen to, I am a product of the books I read, the music I listen to and the people I choose to spend my time with. You must filter through these quotes and references from these areas to see a real personality, as you would filter through anybody's CD/mp3 collection, book collection, movie collection and links on their website to attempt to get a sense of them. The Quote Generator is not rendered as a whole person but a dissected sponge of information, influences and culture just as everyone is.

    So I think it's less look at me, but more look at the people, the culture, the industries, who helped sculpt this person or any person. And to ask yourself how much of what you say is repetitive spiel, how often do you feel like you are in a B grade movie and how much original thought do you actually have and how much is regurgitated from your influencecs. Humans generally regurgitate, it's what we do, this project simply does it overtly, paying tribute to those who have gone before.

    "I do wish we could chat longer, but... I'm having an old friend for dinner. Bye." Silence of the Lambs, 1991


    If you have any questions or would like to submit a quote please contact me at: thequotegenerator@gmail.com
    www.quotegenerator.com (coming soon)



    Very kind of you to drop by Danielle, but I confess to now being disappointed at the number of exclusions, oh, not to mention the "one month old" quote rule, AND you'll be able to quote yourself.

    Ah, loop holes, loop holes, loop holes. More loop holes than a crocheted poncho.

    An average of three years to be toilet trained?! I would need to know your source on that ... I'll take a punt that you're not a mother yet. :-D

    Please do come back when your URL is up and running (to prompt my memory), so that I can link to an active site. Then we'll be able to keep a beady eye on your progresss, and nit pick to our little heart's content, as is the want of the blogosphere.


    PS - I'll have to do another post about this now - *sigh* the pressure, the pressure - but I can't have you usurping Duck Friday (TM), so a new post about this will have to wait.

  10. Wow. Behold the power of the blog. Oh yes, Caz, you're going to have to keep us up on this for the next however many years.

    Question: in the first phase, can people like, say, Caz's readers suggest quotes for Ms. Freakley to use?

  11. Oh, I certainly think that the door has well and truly been opened for suggestions Drunka. I already have a very wise thought from Benjamin Franklin in mind, applicable for any number of occasions.

    Of course we will never know if our handy hints are used, nor be able to validate verbatim and appropriate to context usage, if they are utilised.

    Still I believe it would be churlish and remiss of us not to offer our help. There must be people who would pay for advice from us (I use the collective "us").

  12. Cool for stopping by! I'm still a little so-so on the concept, though, not because of the exclusions, but because I'm not sure really of the artistic value of the project. The idea of people being no more than a sum of their consumptions - social or otherwise - has been around for a long time. I can't help thinking most typified by Gadamer's (WOOOOO!!!! Yeah!) ideas of horizons, but critical and linguistic theorists have delved even more deeply into this, after all, what is language but quote, a signifier, a shared agreement of meaning? Adding a shiny patina of performance art and a soupcon more postmodernism (only a soupcon) though, I'm not sure if it's more interesting or valuable than a discussion of the theories themselves, some of which are very sophisticated and interesting indeed.

    I have three quotes you might like to use:

    "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

    "Calloo Callay! Oh glorious day!"


    "There's ALWAYS time for lubricant!"

  13. Anonymous6:17 AM

    Reading or writing about semiotics, saying that 'we do not have ownership over words' or that 'we are a product of our culture' is no revelation! just read Barthes or Derrida or any of those other cats. But living overtly in the way that these semioticians preach about is another matter.

    It's the execution of that idea that counts.

    The reference is given with the phrase.The Quote Generator wouldn't say just "such a pity" but something like "such a pity - Labyrinth, 1986." Language is quote but we do not reference everything we say. The QG is different form, which attempts to reveal its chosen origins like a living essay or encyclopedia.

    If you don't think that has any artistic merit, you don't know what artistic merit is. This project does more than discuss those theories; it puts them into action.

  14. Oh, please Kenny - she's regurgitating the words of others for an arbitrary period of time. That's it. It's 'art', sure, since you can claim just about anything to be art - but don't kid yourself that it raises any new questions about how we are shaped by culture, whether it is possible to say 'new' things. There are far, far more intelligent ways of investigating the way in which quotes permeate the English language than just martyring yourself to a cause for a couple of years. There is very little merit in this project, artistic or otherwise.

    At any rate, our language may be influenced by quotes, but it's more than a little ridiculous to claim that that is all it is. A far more interesting approach than repeating the words and ideas of others would be to speak honestly in your own words about your own ideas. Hey, you might even say something original; at the very least, you might come up with an elegant way of articulating an old idea. After all, if all we were doing is quoting from previous generations, then language would never change, and we'd be saying exactly the same thing as the Elizabetheans. Egads, forsooth, zounds, bloomin' heck, and all that!

    As Shakespeare said: "There are more things on heaven and earth, Horatio, than are ever dreamt of in your philosophy."

  15. Hey Patrick, I'm not sure, but I think that Lewis Carrol quote is the wrong way around. Does this mean that if Freakley takes that quote, she'll be misquoting Lewis Carrol, or she'll be quoting you, or she'll be quoting you misquoting Lewis Carrol? Or if she turns it the other way around, will she be misquoting you quoting Lewis Carrol? And what the heck will be the reference she whispers afterwards?

    Maybe she could try a couple of other misquotes:

    "Oh frabjuous day! Callay! Calooh!"
    "Oh frabjuous day! I'm going to Calais!"
    "Callay! Oh frabjous day! Calooh!"
    "It is calooh! It is callay! Oh I am full of frabjulosity today!"

    Hey, then she could be quoting me misquoting you quoting Lewis Carrol who was in turn (of course) merely misquoting his real-life persona Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. It all fits!

  16. Tim, to quote Hesketh Pearson:

    "A widely-read man never quotes acurately... Misquotation is the pride and privelige of the learned."


  17. Anonymous4:21 PM

    Ideas my ass. What's the original idea, this is anti the original idea, this project is about being so unoriginal that it's difficult to hold yourself together as a person. It's about being subservient to unoriginality. attributing everything said as unoriginal. As I said it's the way that it's executed that matters.

    Timt what you are saying is like saying to an musician or a poet, 'don't write about love, that idea is so covered , or don't sing about sex, everyone has done that a million times.' That's crap! No matter how old an idea, an artist can attempt to push that idea in their own way and that is what freakley does.

    Stealing others words and living in society successfully that way is a challenge. Doing it for three years would allow Freakley to really attempt to develop it so it becomes a natural way of speaking.

    I don't know if anyone else lives in that way so maybe it is original. If you can find someone else who actually lives that way and not as a party trick, prove me wrong. If it was done simply as a party trick that would be crap but it's turned into an way of communicating in daily life. Riding on the seams of everyone elses underpants. She's living as an upturned sardonic emulation. I like it.

    If art imitates life and vice versa than this project does that to a tea. I also read somewhere that she will do a phd after the project and will base her thesis on the information and experience she's collected from this project, so perhaps this project will also lead to an interesting piece of writing?!!

    here's another quote on misquotations: 'misquotations are the only quotes that are never misquoted' - Hesketh Pearson

  18. Kenny said "this project is about being so unoriginal that it's difficult to hold yourself together as a person. It's about being subservient to unoriginality. attributing everything said as unoriginal. As I said it's the way that it's executed that matters.

    Three points.

    a) It's not going to be hard holding yourself together when you're realistically only going to be quoting for a few hours a day, at most, with huge, regular breaks.

    If she realyl wants to experiment with definitions of the self, Freakely should put herself into sensory isolation for four days. That F you and your definitions of self right up. F it up right in the A, as I quote.

    b) Though Freakely is indeed quoting someone else, it is no more or less original than regular conversation. It is original because in choosing a quote Freakely will in fact be attributing a new meaning to the quote (the only way it could be un-original was if she used quotes like "yes, no" etc. That had their original meaning wholly intact, unbeknowst to the listeners.

    c) It is not original in that, as stated several times, phenomenologically, how exactly is this different than regular conversation?

    Freakely will be using signs with an agreed meaning to communicate. Regardless of whether these signs have ancillary meanings or not, it is precisely what we do in regular conversation, particularly given her subject's potential unfamiliarity with the quotes used, which would indeed, reduce the meaning back down to one anyway.

    You make a spirited defence Kenny, but it still doesn't really cut the mustard.

  19. To again quote you Patrick: "indeed", on all points, particularly point (a).

    The daily performance part will be no longer, and very likely shorter, in duration than actors with the good fortune to be in a successful play, ie, a few hours, night after night after night.

    But no makeup, hair, or wardrobe to worry about, or rehearsals, or disagreements with co-stars or a director.

    I think "holding" oneself together won't be nearly as taxing or challenging as is being suggested.

    For my part, I'd be flummoxed with memorizing enough quotes to get me by for the relatively brief allocated time for each day, but that's strictly a lazy memory problem, not an imminent disintegration of personality, or an implosion of personal integrity, or an existential dilemma of any kind.

  20. Anonymous12:35 PM

    When I said holding oneself as a person, I was referring to something Freakley said about not being a whole person. I was not talking about freakley not being able to handle it, on the verge of a breakdown. What I meant is the audience of quote generator but it would be like talking to bits of this fake person, a series of facades. I was wondering how they would deal with that.

    And patrick, your b: and c: comments cancel themselves out. Your B answers your C question for you. In B) you say yes, it's original because it attributes new meaning to the quote as it is said. Then in C) you say how is it different to regular conversation? well I think it's quite obvious that B) is the answer. You answered that yourself. It's different to regular conversation because you say 'hi' to someone, you don't say 'hi, The Breakfast Club.' The reference makes it very different as we've discussed before so I don't even know why you've asked how it's different to regular conversation, it blindingly obvious.

    Do you people even know that in the article, you call Freakley a performing artist and not a performance artist. Did you even know that there is a difference?

    "Although performance art could be said to include relatively mainstream activities such as theater, dance, music, and circus-related things like fire breathing, juggling, and gymnastics, these are normally instead known as the performing arts. Performance art is a term usually reserved to refer to a kind of usually avant-garde or conceptual art which grew out of the visual arts." - Wikipedia

    Not only is it obvious that you know little about performance art since you don't even know the terminology but I'm an artist and I've noticed you guys say things like "turned into a tax payer funded PhD" and "It's 'art', sure, since you can claim just about anything to be art" These are typical things that old conservative people say about art.

    You try to pigeon hole her project into areas that you understand because you don't understand that field. Sure semiotic, linguistic theorists have said many interesting things in this arena but this is performance art and not a book so stop comparing them. You want her to be a philosophic writer and not a performance artist? I think you know little to none about performance art and that gives your comments very little validity. Another indication of how little you understand comes through when you talk about warhols soupcan, you really know hardly anything about this field. Maybe do some research on performance art before making sweeping statements about a field where, if you notice in the main article, you don't even know the name of.

  21. "These are typical things that old conservative people say about art."

    Oh, pul-eaze!

    For an artist you don't appear to have an original thought in your head.

    Even for artists - the performing or non-performing variety - a modicum of intellectual rigour is a pre-requisite.

  22. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Seems like you use most of your rigour just to slam people like highschool bullies who have nothing better to do.

  23. *Sigh*

    In addition to all of the other research needed, do some on the nature of bullying as well.


  24. Just because people aren’t mindlessly seduced by inane twittering doesn't make them a "bully".

    Your inappropriate appropriation of a serious matter is insulting to everyone.

  25. Anonymous1:57 PM

    Blogging is inappropriate appropriation. And you do it well.

  26. Tee hee -- nice twist!

    Freddo Frog prize heading your way.

    There is hope yet, for you to get into the spirit of things.

    I have said all along, and continue to believe, that this artistic project is a "wait and see" situation.

    We have nothing much to play with yet, other than the concept. Still no web site, which will, we hope, eventually provide insight into the first several months - after all, it's heading up to four months (started in October), and we have no reportage on how things are working out, in artistic or practical terms.

  27. Anonymous4:59 PM

    And a chocolate frog for you on your 'reseach bullying' comment, I have to say it was a witty pearler.

    "I think no innocent species of wit or pleasantry should be suppressed; and that a good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellencies of lively conversation."
    - James Boswell, born October 29, 1740

    "None of the desires dictated by vanity is more general, or less blamable, than that of being distinguished for the arts of conversation."_Johnson: Rambler #188 (January 4, 1752)

    "Those who desire to partake of the pleasure of wit must contribute to its production, since the mind stagnates without external ventilation."_Johnson: Rambler #101 (March 5, 1751) -- from Hilarius, a fictional correspondent

  28. Oh dear.

    To state the bleedin' obvious, I wasn't attempting wit; the comment was entirely serious, given that bullying is a serious matter, particularly for children.

    It's tempting to suggest that I was in far too much haste to award the Freddo.

    People have, and are, taking this project seriously, (if we ever get more news via the currently non-operational web site). The only person determined to offer sophomoric lines as "argument", so far, has been you. Which is unfortunate, as your intentions seemed to be sincere, even if your reading and comprehension skills are not.