Thursday, September 03, 2009

More Acconci

According to Kenny Goldsmith Vito Acconci was the conceptual artist of the 1970s. Here is "Open Book" from 1971. Ubu has several more Acconci films and an interview.

Here's an excerpt from an interview in The Believer:
VA: The difference might be like how maybe writing electronically is different than writing on a page: They might be paragraphs, but they could be simultaneous, or one within the other, rather than this paragraph, then this one, then this one, then this one. They’re hopefully allowing for a variety of different kinds of movements and actions through a space. Are we setting up a space as a kind of very big page? Maybe it’s a page that already has sentences, but now the reader can go from the first sentence way up there, can go on a diagonal down here… I don’t know if I would want to say now that I’m a writer, but I certainly want to admit that I think primarily, for better or worse, in terms of writing. Sometimes it worries me because I think, well, is all this there just to demonstrate or illustrate a piece of writing?

SJ: Demonstrate or illustrate, that sounds too reductive. All your texts perpetually undermine themselves and offer alternate ways of looking at the situation. If your constructions are built on a foundation of writing, it’s a very shifty foundation.

VA: Yeah, writing is a very, very watery thing. It can seem very definite, but it’s very… cloudy.

SJ: A lot of your architectural works do seem to be kind of suspended or floating… flying carpet-like.

VA: But sometimes it seems like, why waste the energy? You can probably suggest more possibilities in writing than you can when something’s physical. Doesn’t this physical presence necessarily imply, this is the way it is, this is a fact, whereas writing is constant potential? You can describe facts, but everybody can read those facts in a very different way. When they see it in real space, well! They’re fixed.
And this is apparently David Byrne asking the questions...but...I...don't...know.

Reposting because more to say/think here. Flipping through the many records of performances through the 1970s--Acconci and others so aware of the body and its physical relation to space. Not to bemoan the loss of focus on this in a kind of essentalist/feminist romantic way (if those three things can go together), but yes, looking back fondly at the body writhing around on the gallery floor, or on a beach:

"Drifts," noember 1970, Jones Beach
1. Rolling toward the waves as the wves roll toward me; rolling away from the waves as the waves roll away from me.
2. Lying on the beach in one position, as the waves come up to varying positions around me.
3. Using my wet body: shifting around on the sand, letting the sand cling to my body.

No silly "like" or "dislike" button here, what we've come to in terms of our willingness to police tone out there in the world, and our desire to speak. Reduced to a yay or nay in a comment's box?

Ick, blach. Beach rubble. As Sappho would say in her modernist phase: "If you're squeamish, don't poke the beach rubble."

Or go ahead and poke it anyhow. Roll around in it. Do something other than yay or nay she says, thinking of these September days quickly passing.


Don Share said...

His early work, collected in Language to Cover a Page is fascinating - a kind of cousin to Bern Porter's work.

Lemon Hound said...

It is fascinating. I've just been reading this, and the introduction by Dworkin.