Vito Acconci - Undertone (1972)
Thursday, January 17, 2008
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, "Television: Video's Frightful Parent," Artforum (December 1975)
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