|Chris Burden, Shoot, November 19, 1971,|
F Space, Santa Ana, CA
"We have now become aware of the possibility of arranging the
entire human environment as a work of art, as a teacing machine
designed to maximize perceptoin and to make
everyday learning a process of discovery."
Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage, 1967
Pondering Chris Burden's performance piece, Shoot, mounted at F-Space in Santa Ana on November 19, 1971, we see that Burden (who studied for his B.A. in visual arts, physics and architecture at Pomona College and received his MFA at the University of California, Irvine from 1969 to 1971) played off what a camera does (shoot) while making a statement about the gravity of the gunfire in Vietnam, which has resonated through the decades. Electronic media allowed the below seven second film and audio documentation of a private event witnessed by 12 people to become iconic. Until we entered this era only material objects could attain the status of Art. Shoot made Burden a "living myth". When a UCLA student tried to do a piece with a gun in a graduate seminar, in 2005, Burden retired his position. McLuhan presaged Burden's performance piece "arranging of the entire human environment as a work of art" by 4 years.