Chris Burden

Doomed, 1975

“My performance consisted of three elements: myself, an institutional wall clock, and a 5′ x 8′ sheet of plate glass. The sheet of glass was placed horizontally and leaned against the wall at a 45 degree angle; the clock was placed to the left of the glass at eye level. When the performance began, the clock was running at the correct time. I entered the room and reset the clock to twelve midnight. I crawled into the space between the glass and the wall, and lay on my back. I was prepared to lie in that position indefinitely, until one of the three elements was disturbed or altered. The responsibility for ending the piece rested with the museum staff, but they were unaware of this crucial aspect. The piece ended when [a museum employee] placed a container of water inside the space between the wall and the glass, 45 hours and 10 minutes after the start of the piece. I immediately got up and smashed the face of the clock with a hammer, recording the exact amount of time which had elapsed from beginning to end.”- Chris Burden

http://www.rogerebert.com/interviews/chris-burden-my-god-are-they-going-to-leave-me-here-to-die

 

Wafaa Bilal 3rdi

sourced from http://wafaabilal.com 


“I am nothing if not a storyteller. My work to date has been concerned with the communication of public and private information to an audience so that it may be retold, distributed. The stories I tell are political dramas, which unfold through my past experience and into the present where they interact with the currency of media as the dialectic of aesthetic pleasure and pain. Through various layers of distribution and interpretation, pictures are drawn using interactive models established through the stories’ (technological) framework where they are revealed and shared. With an audience locked in participation, my story may be retold.

The 3rdi is just such a platform for the telling and retelling of another story. A camera temporarily implanted on the back of my head, it spontaneously and objectively captures the images – one per minute – that make up my daily life, and transmits them to a website for public consumption.

During my journey from Iraq to Saudi Arabia, on to Kuwait and then the U.S., I left many people and places behind. The images I have of this journey are inevitably ephemeral, held as they are in my own memory. Many times while I was in transit and chaos the images failed to fully register, I did not have the time to absorb them. Now, in hindsight, I wish I could have recorded these images so that I could look back on them, to have them serve as a reminder and record of all the places I was forced to leave behind and may never see again.

The 3rdi arises from a need to objectively capture my past as it slips behind me from a non-confrontational point of view. It is anti-photography, decoded, and will capture images that are denoted rather than connoted, a technological-biological image. This will be accomplished by the complete removal of my hand and eye from the photographic process, circumventing the traditional conventions of traditional photography or a disruption in the photographic program. Barthes has said, “…from an aesthetic point of view the denoted image can appear as a kind of Edenic state of the image; cleared utopianically of its connotations, the image would become radically objective, or, in the last analysis, innocent.” It is this ‘innocent’ image that I wish to capture through the 3rdi.

Technically, the 3rdi is an automatic photographic apparatus that is comprised of three different components: a small digital camera permanently surgically mounted to the back of my head with a USB connection, a lightweight laptop which I carry on my body connected to the camera with a USB cable, and a 3G wireless connection to access the internet. The website www.3rdi.me acts as storage and display for the images captured by the camera. The functioning of the apparatus, in theory, is as follows: The camera, through no intervention of the artist, captures an image automatically once a minute and send this image through the USB connection to the receiver (the computer) on my body. The receiver then sends this image through the 3G network to the website, where the images are archived and made available to the public.

The 3rdi makes a technological apparatus part of my body and distributes the recorded content openly within space using the internet. The arbitrary imagery captured by the device will retain fractured records and distribute a narrative to be completed by the viewer as their corporeal space is also compromised by the presentation. Benjamin has described the storyteller as one “who could let the wick of his life be consumed completely by the gentle flame of his story.” (Illuminations) In this way I become locked to the story as its teller, passing the interpretive mode to an audience with little context so it may be transformed for their subjective interactions and subsequent expressions. Using this narrative triangle, the work will comment on ways in which imagery is used for the telling and retelling of stories, whether they belong to us or we make them ours.”

Installation Description

“In addition to the 3rdi device and its online presence, a physical installation opened December 15 in Doha, Qatar as part of the Told/Untold/Retold exhibition inaugurating the new Arab Museum of Modern Art. Hence the 3rdi is in total: a device, a website, and a larger installation that mimics the online platform from which the images are intended to be viewed. The installation will act as a concentrated display that asks the viewer to experience the images in both time space.

The physical installation consists of three distinct rooms. The first, a smaller room, acts as an entrance to the main installation space and provides a separation from the gallery at large. This room prepares the viewer by providing information via wall text that describes the philosophy and background of the 3rdi project. The text is displayed on the wall to the right of the installation entrance. On the left is a medium-sized LCD display with a loop of a documentary on the 3rdi. The exit from this room is open and directly opposite it is a large wall partition that masks the exit from the second room, the main installation space. On this wall is a life-sized photo of the artist facing away from the camera with the 3rdi attached to his head. The partition leads the viewer to either the left or right to gain entrance to the main installation space.

The main installation space is much larger than the first room. After walking around the partition the viewer is confronted by a large bank of small LCD screens, displaying the 3rdi images, stretching from the floor and curving to the ceiling. When a viewer gazes at a certain image, this image stays stable while the other images shift to form a virtual halo around the viewer. Opposite the LCD bank is a large mirrored surface that serves to double the images and broaden the space. The floor too is composed of a mirrored surface further doubling the images from the LCD displays and again broadening the space. The space itself is painted black. Interaction within this portion of the space is subject to both the number of bodies occupying the room and their movement within the space; the number and rate of images is affected by the number of people present. More people means faster movement of the images; with fewer viewers the images slow down. Movement through the space also triggers a flickering and whitening of the images. As a viewer moves from the entrance to the exit of the space, the images nearest them flicker and turn to white. The images in this mode of interaction are elusive to the viewer.

An exit leads to a third room, where the viewer can sit and observe the images as they stream in live from the 3rdi device. This space is a viewing room and a reprieve from the previous installation space. Viewers here will be able to converse and discuss the images as they are transmitted. It is intended to be a sharp contrast to the overwhelming experience of the installation space, allowing the viewer to digest the prior experience while integrating the new information constantly coming in from the 3rdi. This portion of the installation has an exit into the gallery at large, ending the 3rdi space, and allowing the viewer to pursue the 3rdi on their own.

On a whole the installation is intended to provide a broad viewing experience, similar to that of the internet, for the 3rdi apparatus. The extension of the 3rdi into physical space explores issues of perception, image recognition, surveillance, internet viewing, and information saturation.”

 

3rdi footage: http://www.3rdi.me/ 

 

Vito Acconci

Vito Acconci, Following Piece, performed in New York City between October 3 and 25, 1969.

Conceived by performance and conceptual artist Vito Acconci, Following Piece was an activity that took place everyday on the streets of New York, between October 3rd and 25th, 1969. It was part of other performance and conceptual events sponsored by the Architectural League of New York that occurred during those three weeks. The terms of the exhibition “Street Works IV” were to do a piece, sometime during the month, that used a street in New York City. So Acconci decided to follow people around the streets and document his following of them. But why would he do this? Why would Acconci follow random people around New York?

Acconci’s work is typical of performance and conceptual art made during this period in the way that he uses his body as the object of his art in order to explore some specific idea. In essence,Following Piece was concerned with the language of our bodies, not so much in a private manner, but in a deeply public manner. By selecting a passer-by at random until they entered a private space, Acconci submitted his own movements to the movements of others, showing how our bodies are themselves always subject to external forces that we may or may not be able to control. In his notes that the artist kept during the performance, Acconci wrote:

Following Piece, potentially, could use all the time allotted and all the space available: I might be following people, all day long, everyday, through all the streets in New York City. In actuality, following episodes ranged from two or three minutes when someone got into a car and I couldn’t grab a taxi, I couldn’t follow – to seven or eight hours – when a person went to a restaurant, a movie.

In terms of the art work, rather than being just another object that we look at in the gallery, Following Piece was part of the revolution that took place in the art world in the late 1960s that tried to bring art out of the gallery and into the street in order to explore real issues such as space, time, and the human body. Many artists, such as Acconci, used their bodies as their chosen medium. Look at some of Acconci’s notes of the period which he wrote before, during and after the event:

•  I need a scheme (follow the scheme, follow a person)

•  I add myself to another person (I give up control/I don’t have to control myself)

•  Subjective relationship; subjunctive relationship

•  A way to get around. (A way to get myself out of the house.) Get into the middle of things.

•  Out of space. Out of time. (My time and space are taken up, out of myself, into a larger system).

All of these ideas were influenced by Acconci’s readings. As many other artists of the period, Acconci wanted to get away from specific art problems and engage with social problems. Acconci read books such as Edward Hall’s The Hidden Dimension (1969), Erving Goffmann’s The Presentation of the Self in Every Day Life (1959), and Kurt Lewin’s In Principles of Topological Psychological (1936/1966). All of these books explored the ways in which the individual and the social are interlinked in terms of complex codes that structure the way we act and live everyday.

With regard to the influence on these texts on Following Piece, Acconci’s use of diagrams specifically refers to Lewin’s notion of “field theory”: that is, a model that sought to explain human behaviour in terms of relations and in relation to its environment and surroundings. Lewin placed behaviour in a “field” in order to examine it in a theoretical manner. The diagrams drawn by Acconci are an imaginative engagement with this idea of human relations as engaging in a specific field or space. So by following someone around New York, Acconci could perhaps experience what it was like to relinquish self control to others and also explore the intersecting systems that grouped different people together in one field. As we can see from the diagrams, Acconci’s intentions were not subjective but much more systematic—they constituted an exploration of the private and public fields that occur in every social space.Vito Acconci, Following Piece, Diagram 1969 ©Vito Acconci, shown courtesy of Vito Acconci

Ironically, for all the effort to get out of the gallery, much of Acconci’s documentation of Following Piece, for example, the texts, photographs (which were taken after the event!), and diagrams, now constitutes a work of art in its own right. MOMA owns several of the photographs of Following Piece and other “versions” of this work are also in existence. So, even though Acconci’s Following Piece was a performance that occurred in a very specific period (3rd to 25th October, 1969), the reproduction and circulation of the work continues. This fact not only teaches us important things about the nature of performance art and its relationship to the art world, but also how the context of the art work is also never exactly fixed and each time it is presented something new occurs with the work itself.

Text by Jp McMahon published on http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org

 

 

Acconci Studios: http://acconci.com/new-world-trade-center/