All dead. All immortal.

Vito Acconci


I met Vito Acconci in 1975 in New York. In the summer of 1977 I presented a program of all his video projects to date in the Martinikerk in Groningen and in Corps de Garde, including:

Theme Song (1973):

Vito Acconci (1973) Theme Song

'The dynamic tension between 'I and you,' artist and viewer, is perhaps most brilliantly realised in 'Theme Song', a pivotal work. Here he uses the close-up to extraordinary effect, constructing a charged confrontation with the viewer. Acconci is 'face to face,' his head looming onto the screen. With a disquieting intimacy, he shifts between vulnerability and manipulation, candour and seduction, in a pop song driven 'come-on' to the viewer. While Acconci's monologues often refer specifically to women, 'Theme Song' is effective precisely because the 'you' here is un-gendered, non-specific, universal: 'You could be anybody out there.' Describing a relationship of trust and deception, Acconci ultimately acknowledges that the notion of being 'face to face' is, after all, a rather pathetic illusion: 'I can feel your body right next to me...I know I'm only kidding myself...You're not here.'' (UbuWeb)

'I'm face to face with the viewer - rather, I'm lying down, my body directed towards the viewer, my face large and up against the screen - it's as if I'm bringing the viewer down to the ground, or as if the viewer is already there with me.
'The scene is a living room --quiet, private night-- the scene for a come-on - I can bring my legs around, as if I'm wrapping myself around the viewer - I'm playing songs on a tape recorder - I follow the songs up, I'm building a relationship, carrying it through.
'Jim Morrison sings: 'I can't see your face in mij mind' - of course I can't, I don't know who you are, but there's someone there, I'll talk to you - Dylan, 'I'll be your baby tonight' - yes, take it easy, don't worry, come on - but it's bigger than that, more important than that - Van Morrison, 'Spread your wings, fly', - we'll have a dream love, an ideal love - but I wan't control things, you'll have your say - Quicksilver, 'Whatever you're doing, it's all right with me' - okay, you have to leave, I understand - Kristofferson, 'Don't look so sad, I know it's over' - so I'm alone now - I'll have to dream about the times we could have had - Kristofferson, - 'But I'll trade all my tomorrows for a single yesterday, feeling Bobby's body next to mine' ...'

Video: Vito Acconci (1973) Theme Song

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