Vito Acconci (1940-2017)
Remote Control (1971)
1971, 62:30 min, b&w, sound, Two Channels

The two-channel piece Remote Control is an exercise in manipulation and control between artist and subject, male and female. On separate channels, the viewer sees Acconci and Kathy Dillon sitting alone in wooden boxes in different rooms, each facing a static camera. Although they can only see and hear each other on separate monitors, they attempt to interact and respond to one another directly, as if their communication were unmediated. Through language and gesture, Acconci tries to manipulate Dillon's actions from his box, as though by remote control. He instructs her to tie herself up with rope, gesturing as though he were actually in her presence, cajoling her to perform his commands, convincing himself that he is in control: "I'm bringing the rope over your knees... I'm lifting your legs gently." The isolation and displacement of the couple, and the viewer's voyeuristic position, serve to heighten the undercurrent of dominance and submission. Dillon, who at first silently complies with Acconci's commands, eventually reacts to his manipulation with an assertion of her own will.

With: Vito Acconci, Kathy Dillon. -- 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