Remote Control

1971 | 01:02:15 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | 1/2" open reel video

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: Gender, Installation, Performance, Video History

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Two performers, Acconci and a young woman, occupy two wooden boxes in separate rooms, connected via monitor, camera, and microphone. The situation is symbolic of a vicarious and distended power relation, a relationship built through and reliant upon technological mediation. Watching her on a monitor, Acconci coaches the woman through tying herself up, urging her to pretend he is winding the rope around her legs and neck. Acconci states, "The tying up is an occasion for me to get into wrapping you up in a more generalized way." The rope represents Acconci’s will in the woman’s space, binding her physically and mentally, as she stops resisting and acquiesces to his demands. As a study of consent and control, an underlying theme of the work is the manipulative potential of media technology, which reaches isolated viewers and subjects them to its organizing control.

Note: Remote Control was originally a two-channel installation. To recreate Acconci’s intended environment, each of the 62-minute tapes should be shown simultaneously on separate monitors.

This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.