Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Vito Acconci "Pryings" 1971

This last video, “Pryings” from 1971, is another example from performance artist Vito Acconci. This particular example involves endurance with both parties in the video, Acconci and the woman he struggles with for an extended period of time. In this video, Acconci continually struggles to force open the eyes of the woman in the video with him. Unlike many of Acconci’s other videos, the endurance in this specific video deals more with Acconci and the woman as opposed to the audience. The reason this is a good example of endurance is because of the act that is taking place and the amount of time it is endured for. This video, which lasts almost twenty minutes, is a nonstop battle that consists of Acconci trying to open this woman’s eyes. He pulls at her eyelids trying to pry them open with force. She persists in keeping her eyes closed, keeping her eyelids together as tightly as she can and flailing her head back and forth. Acconci counteracts by grabbing her entire head and forcing it into certain positions and he continually persists in trying to peel her eyelids apart. One speculation is that Acconci is trying to force the woman to see, so even if Acconci manages to get her eyelids to separate, she rolls her eyes into the back of her head hiding her irises so she literally cannot see even though her eyes are technically open. Acconci not only deals with endurance in the video, but also the concept of control. The reasoning behind trying to force someone’s eyes open might not be obvious, but endurance and control are two apparent themes in this video.

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