Cornucopia

1982, 10:06 min, color, sound

A mock documentary of archaeological findings from the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavilion's "Room of the Unknown Function," Cornucopia first appeared as a part of a larger installation titled "Cornucopia: Fragments from the Room of the Unknown Function of the Villa dei Misteri of the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavilion." The piece comprises a constellation of images and iconography that construct an "archaeology" of media and culture via the fictional museum that is the Pavilion. Cornucopia interrogates the process by which objects become history, are preserved or left in ruin, and the architectures of the private and public domains. The "documentary," which features line drawings of peeing poodles, spilling cocktails, and ziggurats, acts as a kind of time capsule. At the same time, the figure of the cornucopia—the "horn of plenty"—strips meaning and produces objects, abstracting the familiar and immortalizing it within the museum space.

In an interview for the San Francisco Museum of Art, AA Bronson states: "The Cornucopia installation I think is a very key work because it unlocks the world, the syntax, the grammar, the language of General Idea. The name of the installation, if i can get it all out in one mouthful, is 'Cornucopia: Fragments from the Room of the Unknown Function of the Villa dei Misteri of the 1945 Miss General Idea Pavilion.' The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavilion is General Idea's own personal museum, in a sense. It's a fictional museums that exists wherever our installations exist. It's a documentation projected into the future of something that's supposedly been destroyed and just certain artifacts that have been saved. One of the things that really struck us in the early 80s was how museums really liked things that were difficult to take care of. We actually began to make damaged objects in order that they can be conserved. The whole idea of having ruins of the Miss General Idea Pavilion was about providing museums with things that needed conservations. So, the little phalluses in the vitrines that are twirling around are some of the saved objects from the ruins of the Pavilion, which are in a sense the ruins of the museum as we know it."

Written & directed by General Idea: AA Bronson, Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal. Voice-over: Patrick Ready, Joanne Birnie Danzker. Technical Coordinator: Elizabeth Chitty. Camera: Elizabeth Chitty, Kate Craig. Music & Recording: Hank Bull. Props & Drawings: General Idea with the assistance of Glenn Lewis and Eric Metcalfe. Post Production: Gastown Productions. Produced with the assistance of Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council. Thanks: Anna Banana, Donna Balma, Kate Craig, Jane Ellison, Charmian Johnson, Rhonda Jones, Marlene McGregor, Corry Wyngaarden.