Indeterminate Work Routine

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Score with Chance Operations


I was interested in showing how realism can factor into chance operations, so I used the example of my own lifestyle during my last semester in grad school. It was my last semester in my masters degree and I was going crazy writing everything that had to get done in a very short time period. It was somewhat surprising - though not too much, really - that so much of our daily decision making is based on indeterminacy and chance operations. I realize I chose more realistic life examples than Cage did, however part of the Fluxus philosophy is that everyday activities are art. Besides, in my opinion, each day represents a Work in Progress, or perhaps better yet, a Life in Progress.


Go to sleep whenever you get tired ( or when the sitcom reruns you like to watch are over ) .

Don't set an alarm clock so you can allow yourself to wake up naturally - whatever time that may be. If you must set an alarm clock in order to make an early morning appointment, wake to the sound of the radio rather than the alarm.

Turn the computer on immediately and assess which projects you are in the mood to work on - your 60 page thesis, 45 page Gallatin Interarts Collaboration journal, your never-ending website content, or your 20 page Advanced Musical Acoustics final paper - and commence writing .

You may now have a cup of coffee in a mug of your choice, however it must be strong, and must have two sugars and milk.

Now let us examine your sink and count how many dirty dishes you let sit overnight. For every plate or large serving dish tally up one point; two bowls equal one point; 3 cups equal one point; and five pieces of silverware add up to one point . Now tally up your points, and however many points you have will determine how many paragraphs you must type before breakfast or lunch .

Random glances out the window are permitted throughout the working day and may be extended if there is something interesting like a nice sunset, children playing or emergency vehicles. However, if there is no legitimate people watching activity present , you must return to your desk as soon as possible and resume writing.

When cooking eggs or any type of stir-fry, first assess what leftover vegetables you have in your refrigerator. This will determine what ingredients to throw in.

If you see a cockroach, mouse, or any other insect, you must suspend whatever activity you are doing at the time and deal with the pest immediately.

You can turn on the news while you eat, but if it is something depressing you should change the channel. You may consult the TV Guide listings to determine what is on, however you should not get engrossed in any program that lasts longer than a half hour.

When you are done eating, you must once again tally up the number of dirty dishes in the sink to determine how many more paragraphs you must write . If you do not want to do this, you may instead elect to wash the dishes, and however many minutes it takes you to wash the dishes will be the same amount of time you will be allowed to spend on a phone call to a friend later on as a break. However, that number will also be the same number of paragraphs you must type during the course of the afternoon.

If and when your body becomes tired and stiff, you must take an exercise break. If the weather is nice and the outside temperature is above 60 degrees you must take a brisk 30 minute walk outside. If the temperature is 40 degrees or below you must exercise indoors in your apartment or at a gym . When the temperature is between 40 and 60 degrees you may decide where to work out .

Repeat writing routine, however you should work on a different project you are interested in. If you feel like procrastinating at any time during the day, work on a fiction novel, autobiography, screenplay, poetry, music or painting. If you still feel like procrastinating, go through your rolodex and call up the first three names of old friends you haven't talked to in a long, long time. If you still feel like procrastinating, clean your apartment.

If your carpal tunnel is very bad, only play piano for 10 minutes and stick to easy pieces . However, if your arms feel strong, play through your entire repertoire and improvise for at least one hour. If you come up with a cool rif, record it.

Repeat meal routine or meet up with friends and order the first item on the menu that is under $10 . If wine costs less than $4, order it, otherwise drink water . If you stay out past midnight take a taxi home, otherwise take the subway.

Check your e-mail. If there are less than five messages, read all of them. If there are between six and 19 messages choose 10 to read or delete. If there are more than 20 messages, don't deal with any of them. Do not spend more than two minutes on each message.

If there is something interesting on TV , watch it, or else listen to a CD .

Go to sleep whenever you get tired - and don't set the alarm.

L.A. Kessler
February 2000

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