My name is Dore Ashton and I am a so called art critic and professor and writer. I knew Jean before in the ‘50s. I hung out quite a bit in Paris and I met him then. We used to come and watch as he was preparing the machine here in the garden and it was all just fun for us. Great fun I would say. It was sufficiently iconoclastic and this is an institution and us old anarchists, we’re against institutions, right?
I was a schemer. I knew what was going to happen but I didn’t tell these people at the Museum of Modern Art, which was very bad of me. You can imagine. I knew it would was going to catch fire because Jean had told me. As far as I know nobody else ever made a sculpture in the Museum of Modern Art that burned itself up.
When it groaned and creaked and all those little things started moving around, somebody must have called the fire department. I don’t know. I don’t remember that. But that was all part of our plan. I felt naughty. It was really scripted you know. Every minute of it was planned. When the performance - which it was - was completed he did sort of smile at all of us, as though to say ‘well we’ve done it’, you know.