Understone @ Vito Acconci. 1972

Publié le par Olivier Lussac

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UNDERSTONE 1972
37:20 1972
In this now infamous tape, exemplary of his early transgressive performance style, Acconci sits and relates a masturbatory fantasy about a girl rubbing his legs under the table. Carrying on a rambling dialogue that shifts back and forth between the camera/spectator and himself, Acconci sexualizes the implicit contract between performer and viewer—the viewer serving as a voyeur who makes the performance possible by watching and completing the scene, believing the fantasy.
                                      
"In a visual style of address exactly equivalent to the presidential address, the face-to-face camera regards The Insignificant Man making the Outrageous Confession that is as likely as not to be an Incredible Lie. Who can escape the television image of Nixon?" -David Antin, Artforum

1973, 34:12 min, b&w, sound
One of Acconci's most compelling works, Undertone is a confrontational attempt to engage the viewer in an intimate, ultimately perverse relation with the artist. Acconci sits at the end of a long table, arms hidden underneath, facing the camera/viewer. Looking down, he begins a hypnotic monologue as he tries to convince himself that there is a woman under the table rubbing his thighs, or, alternately, that it is only himself rubbing his thighs. "I want to believe there's no one here under the table ... I want to believe there's a girl here." Then, in a direct address, he implicates the viewer in this fantasy: "I need you to keep your place there at the head of the table. I need to know I can count on you...." Coercively positioning the viewer as both voyeur and accomplice, Acconci defines himself through the spectator as psychological other: "I need you to screen out my lies, filter out the lies from the real point of view."


ubu.artmob.ca/video/Acconi-Vito_Undertone_1972.mp4 link

Publié dans Performances

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