How to break a stone – in five easy steps.
 
1. Move your mind ... example:

i. Is the breaking of stone (or any material or space, for that matter) catastrophic or transformational? How is the view of the break changed when – additionally or solely – labeled “creative,” or “purposeful,” or “random,” or “predictable,” or “warranted,” or “gratuitous,” or “liminal,” or “signified?” (… to list a few common viewpoints) What are the criteria to judge such a label?

ii. What is the level of tragedy that is depicted in a specific break; or is the depiction a revolution, a rupture, or a salvation – however necessary, temporary or unexpected? How mediated would these outcomes be?

iii. More generally, what is the characteristic of the conflict that sustains the action, allowing it to be carried out – or is it really about an emergence of cooperation among various forcings?

iv. How can an initial read of the basic forms and actions that I deal with be reconciled with the deep geologic time and the wide historic import of stone and be brought into an epistemological rather than just a phenomenological discussion – and, really, how can the seriousness of these questions include a comic and humorous framework because of the unique demands of the human psyche?

v. How does one move beyond the break – and beyond the tragic, the revolutionary, the ruptured, or the saved; the label, the criteria, the judgment: and to what end? Is there even an end (!?) and, if so, how strategic is it?

2. Move your body ... examples:  HERE

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 … until the right stone presents itself.

4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with chosen stone … until the method becomes clear.

5. Break.

Samuel Nigro is currently on step 3, and presents a selection of work below, ending with one of his earliest breaks from performance in 1996 called Moving Stones:

strategy
space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy video
How to break a stone – in five easy steps (screen capture)
2014
video
23 sec

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy
The Field of the Great Circle (detail)
2018
dimensions vary

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy
Self-portrait - Redo and Undo
2018
dimensions vary

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy graphite on paper
Line Series 6/7 (detail, digitally altered)
2018
graphite on paper
30 x 22"

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy
Three Stones from Three Cities (collage)
2015

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy
Heutegesternmorgenwelt I
2015
dimensions vary

“Heutegesternmorgenwelt” is a portmanteau that combines four German words. The word-for-word translation is “today-yesterday-tomorrow-world,” and roughly means a mental state that experiences time as a non-linear complexity.

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy
Heutegesternmorgenwelt II
2015
dimensions vary

“Heutegesternmorgenwelt” is a portmanteau that combines four German words. The word-for-word translation is “today-yesterday-tomorrow-world,” and roughly means a mental state that experiences time as a non-linear complexity.

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy
Heutegesternmorgenwelt III
2015
dimensions vary

“Heutegesternmorgenwelt” is a portmanteau that combines four German words. The word-for-word translation is “today-yesterday-tomorrow-world,” and roughly means a mental state that experiences time as a non-linear complexity.

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy
Heutegesternmorgenwelt IV
2015
dimensions vary

“Heutegesternmorgenwelt” is a portmanteau that combines four German words. The word-for-word translation is “today-yesterday-tomorrow-world,” and roughly means a mental state that experiences time as a non-linear complexity.

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy
The Unexpected Field of Trauma
2015
dimensions vary

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy Indian Granite
Shards (2 of 7)
2014
Indian Granite
5" high

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy Indian Granite
Shards (2 of 7)
2014
Indian Granite
5" high

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy Indian Granite
Shards (2 of 7)
2014
Indian Granite
5" high

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy Indian Granite
Shards (6 of 7)
2014
Indian Granite
10" high

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy Indian Granite
Shards (6 of 7)
2014
Indian Granite
10" high

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy Indian Granite
Shards (6 of 7)
2014
Indian Granite
10" high

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy Indian Granite
Creation of Five Pieces
2014
Indian Granite
28" high

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy Indian Granite
Five Pieces (detail)
2014
Indian Granite
28" high

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy Indian Granite
Five Pieces (detail)
2014
Indian Granite
28" high

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy Indian Granite
Five Pieces
2014
Indian Granite
28" high

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy Indian Granite
Five Pieces (detail)
2014
Indian Granite
28" high

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy Indian Granite
Five Pieces (detail)
2014
Indian Granite
28" high

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Indian Cairn No. 1
2014
granite
18' high

Bangalore, India

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Indian Cairn No. 1 with crew
2014
granite
18' high

Bangalore, India

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Indian Cairn No. 4
2014
granite
15’ high

Bangalore, India

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Three Indian Cairns with crew
2014
granite
15’ high

Bangalore, India

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Three Indian Cairns (wide angle)
2014
granite
15’ high

Bangalore, India

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy
Horizon Lines – Digital work, #7
2012
dimensions variable

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy
Horizon Lines – Digital work, #7
2012
dimensions variable

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy
Horizon Lines – Digital work, #7
2012
dimensions variable

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy video
Infinite Regression – Undo
2012
video
6:00 minutes

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy 9 tons of granite
The Strategic Placement of Stone
2008
9 tons of granite
78 x 56 x 42"

created in Barre, VT

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy 9 tons of granite
The Strategic Placement of Stone
2008
9 tons of granite
78 x 56 x 42"

Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn, NY

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy 9 tons of granite
The Strategic Placement of Stone
2008
9 tons of granite
78 x 56 x 42"

Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn, NY

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy 5 tons of granite
Solid with Breaking (front)
2006
5 tons of granite
8 x 6 x 1.5’

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy 5 tons of granite
Solid with Breaking (side)
2006
5 tons of granite
8 x 6 x 1.5’

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite and video
Troika
2005
granite and video

The Turchin Center, North Carolina
(left) Vertical Break – Three Tons, granite, 67 x 30 x 30”; (far left) With Granite Ellipsoid, installation – granite, video
(right) Granite Wall, granite, 108 x 54 x 5”; (background) Obverse – Two Tons, granite, 104 x 20 x 20”

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Vertical Break – Three Tons
2005
granite
67 x 30 x 30"

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Vertical Break – Three Tons
2005
granite
67 x 30 x 30"

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite and wood
Granite Ellipsoid and Stick
2004
granite and wood
performance

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Legs Locked in Granite
2002
granite
10 x 7 x 5 ft, 8 hr performance

Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens NY.

I incorporate a 7-ton granite block into the Socrates Sculpture Park by embedding my legs into the block. Splitting off the top two-fifths and breaking this part in two, I carve out depressions so that, when I stand on top of the large piece and place the parts back together, the granite conforms around my legs, locking them in place.

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite and video
Polishing Granite
2001
granite and video
11 x 6 x 2 ft, 10 hr performance

Sculpture Center – Interval, Queens, NY, installation

Harnessed with only a rope and a plywood and stainless steel structure, I drag the boulder with camera in tow approx 3.5 miles from the Sculpture Center’s old location in Manhattan across the Queensboro Bridge to its new location in Long Island City. Whether using sophisticated tools or urban streets, the beginning process of polishing a piece of stone is the same: grind the surface down.

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite and video
Pushing and Pulling Boulder
2000
granite and video
performance

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy video capture
Spirals around the U.S. Capitol
2001
video capture
15:00 min

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy video: silent and color
Hanging and Lancing
2000
video: silent and color
3:00 minutes

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy video: silent and color
Hanging and Lancing
2000
video: silent and color
3:00 minutes

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Negotiating with Granite
2000
granite
assembled monolith – 42 x 14 x 14", 900 lbs, plywood platform – 36 x 60 x 20"; 7-hour performance

The action includes continually moving pieces of a granite monolith into different configurations. At the completion of each configuration, I document the moment by taking one photograph of both the site and the passers-by – all while continuously blindfolded.

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Negotiating with Granite
2000
granite
assembled monolith – 42 x 14 x 14", 900 lbs, plywood platform – 36 x 60 x 20"; 7-hour performance

The action includes continually moving pieces of a granite monolith into different configurations. At the completion of each configuration, I document the moment by taking one photograph of both the site and the passers-by – all while continuously blindfolded.

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Negotiating with Granite
2000
granite
assembled monolith – 42 x 14 x 14", 900 lbs, plywood platform – 36 x 60 x 20"; 7-hour performance

The action includes continually moving pieces of a granite monolith into different configurations. At the completion of each configuration, I document the moment by taking one photograph of both the site and the passers-by – all while continuously blindfolded.

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy video
Breaking Painted Stones
1999
video
3:00 minutes

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Moving Stones
1995
granite
24 hour performance

space … its own place / a practiced or tactical place / their interaction. strategy granite
Moving Stones
1995
granite
24 hour performance

Bibliography Section Article Bibliography Section Catalog Bibliography Section Web Link PDF icon displayed by thumbnail Sold Dot