Vito Acconci (1940-2017)
Command Performance (1974)
1974, 56:40 min, b&w, sound

In Command Performance, Acconci attempts to replace himself with the viewer. He lies on his back with the camera gazing down on him and begins a hypnotic incantation: "Dream into the space... dream myself out of here, into you." Cajoling, pleading, insulting, fantasizing, he tries to seduce the viewer to take his place in the spotlight: "You're there where I used to be. I don't have to be there anymore. You can do it for me now... Oh, you didn't expect this, did you baby? You're used to the way it was." As the tape progresses, Acconci, humming and singing to himself, is driven further and further into his fantasy. "Now you're in the spotlight. You'll do everything I want, my little puppet, my little dancing bear." Becoming increasingly agitated, he is alternately comedic and cruel, sadistic and seductive, as he confronts the relation of artist and viewer, self and other. In the installation of Command Performance, the audience was confronted with an empty stool in a spotlight; Acconci, exhorting the viewer to take his place, was present only on a video monitor. -- EAI

This title is available for exhibitions, screenings, and institutional use through Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), NY. Please visit the EAI Online Catalogue for further information about this artist and work. The EAI site offers extensive resources for curators, students, artists and educators, including: an in-depth guide to exhibiting, collecting, and preserving media art; A Kinetic History: The EAI Archives Online, a collection of essays, primary documents, and media charting EAI's 40-year history and the early years of the emergent video art scene; and expanded contextual and educational materials.

Vito Acconci in UbuWeb Sound
Vito Acconci in the UbuWeb Anthology of Conceptual Writing