Author: T.R. --- Date: 10/28/95 --- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

Theater Project for a Rock Band
Vito Acconci and The Mekons
Dia Center for the Arts, New York
Oct. 17, 1995

A temporary architecture built by Vito Acconci sets the stage for an hour long song entitled "Song," written and performed by the band the Mekons.

The members of the band stood above and behind the audience on six foot high plywood platforms in five corners of a huge room (at the Dia Foundation). In the center of the room was a control station where several people operated a complex system of mechanized pulleys attached to canvas scrims creating moving walls and a dropped ceiling. This divided and enclosed the circular seating area into five pie shaped sections. Orchestrated lighting cut through the canvas structure which divided us. When a member of the band would do a part the walls would go up and the ceiling would come down blocking that member of the band from the audience.

The performance begins in blackness, Acconci's voice spoke, "Once I refused to talk, they forced me to sing for my supper. So I lost my voice, and I threw my voice, and I threw myself into their hands and mouths and bodies and up their ass and through their veins. Take me, I said (though who could hear me with my tongue up an ass-hole). Take me, I said: lift me out of my body and make my heart sing..." Lights come up.

The "Song" (entitled "Song") begins, it's a drinking after a hard days work type of song. At first, each band member played a part of the song solo, unseen (blocked by walls). This eventually built to a fragmented crescendo where everyone in the band talked to each other and played all at once. In between various phases of "Song" the lights went dark and Acconci spoke about everyone together, all at once, being lost.

At the end of the last section the voice says, "Nobody move, nobody move. At the same time, everybody dance, everybody dance..." This seems to spell out the premise of the piece (and much of Acconci's work), which is Acconci's ability to focus on an essential absurdity which defines existence, and primarily the existence of the isolated individual. But as in other instances of his work, recognition of this does not create a sad disposition, but rather one which can be liberating. "La, La, La", the songs main refrain, has such a nice, catchy melody, that the audience started to sing along. "Song" unified the space and the audience, lightening up Acconci's divisive set, making it into a kind of bombastic ballet (where the walls danced around the punk-rock band) and in the end, instead of feeling frustrated, one leaves laughing and singing.



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kikokiko --

I want see this Vito Acconci 's exbision. my art is reference him. but Japan is not@politics@criticism. sorry may english very very pooooor.

B.A.Stenzel --

I was wondering if you knew anything about V.Acconci's works entitled either: touchstone OR Trademarks I believe that both of these pieces are lithographs. @->->-- Brooke

Vic --

Wher are the pictures, goddamit?

Vic --

Where are the pictures, goddamit?

"other" man --

Acconci took no issues with taboos in this piece. His name has been synonomous with taboo, his becoming one as well by virtue of his what his work deals with. I think it's pretty chill if he is tired of being "held back" to a certain degree by the whole "taboo" thing and wants to make work under different contexts but i'm also disappointed because i have always admired the professionalism with which he could deal with the situations that he has ie. "public" masturbation, etc. And where are the pictures goddamnit?!! Even a link would have been good ya'll.