Öyvind Fahlström Mao-Hope March 1966

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 415 The David Geffen Galleries

Transcription of Mao-Hope March

Wait a second! Let me see. I don't know. That isn't Bob Hope but I don't know who he is. I like Bob Hope, that's for sure.
Are you happy generally?
Oh yes, I love the television.
What makes you happy?
Television, because I'm very lonesome without....
Are you happy?
Very tough question. Up and down.
How about you, sir? Are you happy?
Yes, I just came back from Mexico. Why not? I went all through the States to Mexico,
why shouldn't I be happy? I went on that $99 thing that Greyhound gave out. I took every day the world what it was. So why shouldn't I be happy? And with this Bob Hope thing, I think it's a publicity campaign because he was on TV the other day and probably his book that he did or something about Russia.
And what's the connection with Mao Tse Tung?
The connection? That I wouldn't know now. Let's say he's in town for some sort of publicity, that's all.
Is Mao in town?
Bob Hope.
Oh, I thought you meant that Mao Tse Tung was in town.
No. Well not that I know of.
Was it a strike against something? Are they protesting somebody? They're running Bob Hope for some kind of political office?
There's somebody else's picture there, too.
Yeah, I don't recognize the other fellow. Recognize Bob Hope, though.
Who's the other fellow?
What is that? The Chinese general marshal? Whatever the fella's name is. Is that a Japanese? Is he Korean? What do you call it? President, General, whatever he is....
Who is he?
I see Bob Hope!
Am I happy? Sure, I'm the happiest person in the world.
Why?
Why? I've got my good health, I work, have a nice family, so why shouldn't I be happy?
What do you make out of that? Do you know?
I don't say. They're all sick in the head, maybe.
Are you a happy man?
Certainly! Do I look happy, huh?
Why?
Because I live the type of life I do.
What type of life is that?
The type that you don't.
Why are you happy?
No troubles, nothing to bother me. Nothing to worry about, right? I work, enjoy life....
You know, it really stops you, you know. It makes you sort of stop and wonder what is he running for? Because if you notice that most of these actors are going into politics now, like Ronald Reagan, for instance.
Whose pictures are they?
Bob Hope and I'm not sure of the other person, but it's, I think it's Mao Tse Tung.
Is there some kind of connection?
I hope not.
The only thing I can think of is that they're inferring that Bob Hope is a communist, but....
I wish I knew! Maybe the cops could help. I don't know. I was just thinking, maybe we ought to call Bob Hope and tell him about it.
If you know his number....
I can get it.
Does it make you unhappy?
Very! It doesn't make you happy, does it? Doesn't make you very happy, does it?
You seem to be unhappy.
Wouldn't you be? Well, tell me. Let me ask....
Are you unhappy?
Yes, very!
Well, I think something political, political going on with a picket line.
Are you generally a happy man?
All the time.
What makes you happy?
The whole world.
Is there anything that makes you unhappy?
Nothing.
Are they all pictures of Bob Hope?
Yeah.
No, no, there's one different. I don't know. One looks like what's-his-name from China.
The premiere, right? Chu? Is it Chu? Was it Chu?
Was it the premiere from China? Is it? Huh?
My boy is Bob Hope. I like Bob Hope. I don't like the other guy.
Are you happy?
Very happy.
Why?
Because I love this country and I love the people here and I'm very happy.
Are we on television?
No.
Bob Hope for president! Bing Crosby vice-president!
Is that Mao Tse Tung?
That's right!
Bing Crosby vice-president!
What's it all about?
I wouldn't know.
Can I ask you a question?
Yes, sir.
Are you happy?
Yes, sir.
What makes you happy?
What makes me happy? Seeing Bob Hope up there, for president. That's right! Make Bing Crosby vice-president. That's right! Bing Crosby vice-president! That's right!

Additional text from Transcription by Sharon Avery-Fahlström
Additional text

Mao-Hope March shows a demonstration organized by Fahlström that took place on September 1, 1966, in New York. Seven young people marched down Fifth Avenue, along Central Park, carrying large placards: six with a photograph of American comedian Bob Hope, and one featuring Mao Zedong, chairman of the Communist Party of China. Curious onlookers wondered if the procession was a protest, or perhaps a publicity stunt, while radio personality Bob Fass recorded their answers to the question “Are you happy?” The commentary unfolds as a satiric study of global politics, celebrity culture, and the pursuit of happiness in Cold War America.

Gallery label from 2021.

Mao-Hope March shows a demonstration organized by Fahlström that took place on September 1, 1966, in New York. A group of young people marched down Fifth Avenue, along Central Park, carrying placards with no text, six with photographs of the American comedian Bob Hope, and one of Mao Tse-tung, chairman of the Communist Party of China. Radio personality Bob Fass recorded people's comments and the answers to the question "Are you happy?" The casual and often humorous answers reveal the cultural concerns and political preoccupations of 1960s America. The film was made for inclusion in Fahlström's performance work Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, presented as part of the festival 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York in 1966. By 1973, however, the artist had decided to present the film as an independent work.

Gallery label from From the Collection: 1960-69, March 26, 2016 - March 12, 2017.
Medium
16mm film transferred to video (black and white, sound)
Duration
4:30 min.
Cameraman
Alfons Schilling
Translator
Bob Fass
Editor
Alfons Schilling
Credit
Committee on Media and Performance Art Funds
Object number
1643.2009
Department
Media and Performance

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