|A man and his manifesto|
Of course, an organisation like SRL is carefully watched by reactionary forces in the USA. In the 1990ies a performance had to be cancelled due to protests against its inherent display of violence against religious symbols. After the "Crime Wave" show in 1995, Mark Pauline was arrested for illegal use of explosives. But that's of course part of the game, for Mark has always delighted in stirring up trouble and confusing people.
Mark was born in 1953 in Sarasota, Florida. Even as a kid he used to experiment with explosives and gun powder, later this initial fascination turned into a much clearer concept. At the age of 14, Mark would gain his first mechanical experience when he started fixing and selling old motorcycles. Soon he would collect abandoned machinery, all kinds of technical equipment and chemicals, in order to manipulate it. Then came the worked-out concepts and ideas which resulted in the first performances.
One of the major ideas behind SRL's work is to corrupt the machines, to use them in a way they were not meant to be used. A lot of work goes into the creation of complex robot machines, for example the gasoline-spraying Sprinkler from Hell or the jet engine-driven Flame Hurricane: it takes months to build them, but some are destroyed within minutes during the shows. That's part of this dark satire on military industry.
There is a primitive, almost
childish fascination for violence and destruction in SRL's works - they
are having a lot of wicked fun during the performances, and this is shared
by the spectators alike. Currently, Mark is trying to design a mechanism
that allows spectators to control some of the machines via the Internet
- this of course would expand the possibilities of the traditional performance