26/03/2015

Vito Acconci // Blinks

Broad Jump 71
When looking at Gary Schneider's conceptual work, he mentioned that he had taken inspiration from the ideas of Vito Acconci and in particular his series of work entitled blinks. Acconci is a visual artist and his work varies from installation pieces, performance art and photographic pieces, all of which he uses to make subversive social comments on the society we live in. An example of this is "Broad Jump 71" which was a performance piece of work by Acconci that had men jumping in a competition, in a convention hall, to get a woman as their prize. Vito Acconci created these series of activities, to expose the male ownership of women in society, which I personally think is really thought provoking and intriguing, as a piece of performance work. 

Blinks

"Holding a camera, aimed away from me and ready to shoot, while walking a continuous line down a city street.
Try not to blink.
Each time I blink: snap a photo."


Blinks is a series of photographs that Vito Acconci took on November the 23rd, in 1969 on Greenwich Street in New York. The method in which Acconci took these photographs on his Kodak Instamatic 124, is what really inspired Schneider conceptually, and what I find really interesting as a approach to taking photographs. The method was that he took a photo every time he blinked whilst walking down this street, and that was simply what the series was about and demonstrated.

To me this is so interesting because the camera acts as his sight when he cannot see (when he is blinking), which I think presents a really interesting perspective and idea into how we approach our subject matter, and how we record events through photography. In terms of the blinking this really connects with the word flicker in terms of the sharp, quick movements the eyes make, and this piece has really made me think a lot more about what blinking can represent. Blinking to me creates a pause in your head in what information you are taking in visually. Like a comma in a sentence. To take it even further would be to think about how many times we blink in our entire lifetime. We blink on average around 15-20 times a minute, when you add this up to entire lifetimes this turns into massive numbers. To me this poses an interesting question about what we miss because of blinking or this flickering of our vision, what do we not see in life just because of blinking? And how interesting it is for Acconci's work to challenge this idea, by replacing every moment he blinks with a visual record of what is in front of him.

To me this series of images, really challenges what it means to be artistic in the way that Acconci has been intentionally very amateurish, with the way he has gone out and taken these photographs. This has made me even more interested in this idea, and how the technique can influence my exam work and my conceptual ideas, in what every aspect of my images can represent including the method of taking them. 

http://aleph-arts.org/art/lsa/lsa39/eng/1969.htm
http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=53

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