Praise Be Our Ancestors Who Fucked Upright (Funeral Poem for 2 Men Whose Hearts Were the 1%) (4 min. 59 sec., 2012) is a live-networked eulogy for Abraham Lincoln and chess player Bobby Fischer. Included in Low Lives Occupy! (a festival of webcam performance responding to the Occupy Movement), it is an oblique meditation on the relationship between people and the ground, humans and animals, and champions and losers—in other words, those power relations that have shaped the Occupy Movement in both literal and figurative ways. Praise Be Our Ancestors is part of my trilogy of short webcam solo performances exhibited in real-time; however, it is the only one that experiments with poetry as political speech.
The performance text begins with a description of Abraham Lincoln: “He was a very tall man. Like anything else in the world that attracts notice, he was a hypothesis-in-the-making. As he lay on his deathbed-in-the-making, someone whispered she wants to show his skeleton upright in a glass case. Animals disappear into some kind of rancid mulch, he believed, but if his bones remain bipedal, they can be buffed into beauty forever.” It ends, perhaps surprisingly, with a reference to Michael Jackson, “who attracted notice by making his body 45 degrees to the ground without kneeling. This love is the animal and the human simultaneously, not lone ‘I’ or proud ‘he’ but a backslash, calling itself ‘my Freedom’ or better, less logic, ‘we Freedom.’ We freedom. Somewhere between humans bending themselves by halfs into the stance of pumas, and earthworms, daring to wear top hats, legitimately, beautifully called savants. There is triumph in that. There is. Not lasting but better.” Praise Be Our Ancestors is as brief as it should be.