“Telegraph Progress” is a performance that I conceived at the Watermill Center, a performance laboratory founded by Robert Wilson. The building is the site of a former Western Union research laboratory for telecommunication, where the high-speed fax machine was developed. I stood on top of the building and spelled out a phrase with semaphore flag signaling, a telegraphic language formerly used by the military to transmit messages over long distances. The fax machine also was developed for the same reason.
With semaphore, I transmitted a line from a Western Union advertisement written about the fax machine that was in the Watermill Center’s archives. The phrase I spelled out was “FOR A WORLD LIVING BY A TIME CLOCK.” I remained stationary, spelling this phrase out letter by letter for two hours, until the sun set and I was no longer illuminated.