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Total actions are a further development of the happening and combine the elements of all art forms,painting music, literature, film, theatre, which have been so infected by the progressive process of cretinisation in our society that any examination of reality has become impossible using these means alone. Total actions are the unprejudiced examination of all the materials that make up reality. Total actions take place in a consciously delineated area of reality with deliberately selected materials. They are partial, dynamic occurrences in which the most varied materials and elements of reality are linked,swapped over,turn on their heads and destroyed. This procedure creates the occurrence. The actual nature of the occurrence depends on the composition of the material and actors′ unconscious tendencies. Anything may constitute the material: people, animals, plants, food, space, movement, noise, smells, light, fire, coldness, warmth, wind, dust, steam, gas, events, sport, all art forms and all art products. All the possibilities of the material are ruthlessly exhausted. As a result of the incalculable possibilities for choices that the material presents to the actor,he plunges into a concentrated whirl of action finds himself suddenly in a reality without barriers,performs actions resembling those of a madman,and avails himself of a fool′s privileges,which is probably not without significance for sensible people. Old art forms seek to reconstruct reality,total actions unfold within reality itself. Total actions are direct occurrences(direct art),not the repetition of an occurrence,a direct encounter between unconscious elements and reality(material). The actor performs and himself becomes material: stuttering, stammering, burbling, groaning, choking, shouting, screeching, laughing, spitting, biting, creeping, rolling about in the material.
—Gunter Brus


Günter Brus, Selbstbemalung/Selbstverstümmelung (Self-Painting/Self-Mutilation) and Vienna Walk, 1965

"The collage documenting Self-Painting/Self-Mutilation was presented at the Junge Generation Gallery, Vienna, the day after Brus’ first public action. The artist had walked through the centre of Vienna, painted entirely in white, with a black strip over his face and body. The dark paint was used as a symbol of mutilation. During this action Brus was arrested almost immediately by the police for being potentially disturbing to the public." - Tracey Warr and Amelia Jones, The Artist’s Body


Günter Brus, Drei Kreuze, 1970


Gunter Brus - Ana, 1964


Defecating on stage, Masturbation, Mutilation as Performance Art
One such case of face-melting political art came in 1968, when an Austrian named Gunter Brus decided that he would challenge what he felt were the fascist free speech laws of post-war Austria. In a student art exhibit at the university of Vienna,Brus proceeded to perform “Action Number 33” wherein
The artist, standing naked on a chair, slashed his chest and legs with a razor blade until the blood trickled down his body. Then, urinating into a glass and defecating onto the floor, he smeared his body with his own excrement, drank the urine, and stuck his fingers down his throat until he vomited. Finally, he proceeded to masturbate in front of the audience while singing the national anthem
Brus was arrested immediately after this, preventing him from completing an encore to his performance piece which I assume would have involved him cutting off his own penis with a dinner fork and then using it to play the theme from Seinfeld on a slap-bass.
He was sentenced to 6 months in prison for “disturbing the peace”, prompting a public debate over free speech in Austria and proving the old saying that if you want politicians to listen to you, cover yourself in poo and masturbate in song.

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