Vito Hannibal Acconci. 24 January 1940 – present. Designer, landscape architect, performance and installation artist.
Key walking work – “Following Piece”
Took place everyday on the streets of New York between October 3-25, 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. Acconci decided to follow people around the streets until they entered a private space and document his following of them.
Acconci’s notes before and after Following Piece
• 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).
Documentation – photos (taken by a photograher that followed Acconci following people), diagrams and text (http://www.designboom.com/eng/interview/acconci_followingtext.html).
Rationale – Acconci wanted to get away from specific art problems and engage with social problems. Like other artists at the time, Following Piece explored how the individual and the social are interlinked in terms of complex systems that structure the way we act and live everyday. The activity forced Acconci to relinquish control over where he walked to those around him, in turn highlighting the forces that motivated them.