VITO ACCONCI at The National Arts Club

On December 4 at 8:00 pm the Art & Technology Committee welcomes Vito Acconci.  From poetry and provocative performance art to sublime architecture and beyond, Mr. Acconci is one of the most iconoclastic and influential artists of our time.  This will be the Art & Technology Committee’s last event of 2014.

Vito Acconci’s design & architecture comes from another direction, from backgrounds of writing & art. His poems in the late 60’s treated language as matter (words to look at rather than through) & the page as a field to travel over; his performances in the early 70’s helped shift art from object to interaction; later in the 70’s, his installations turned museums & galleries into interactions between spaces & people; in the early 80’s, his architectural-units were meant to be transformed by users. By the late 80’s his work crossed over & he formed Acconci Studio, a design firm that mixes poetry & geometry, computer-scripting & sentence-structure, narrative & biology, chemistry & social-science.

The Studio uses computers to give form to thinking; they use forms to find ideas. They make not nodes so much as circulation-routes, they design time as much as space. Their design starts with clothing & ends with vehicles – in-between, they design buildings that slip into landscape & vice versa; they make spaces fluid, changeable & portable; they make architecture subservient to people & not vice versa — they anticipate cities on the move.

Built in the last decade are, in Graz, a person-made island where the theater, a bowl, twists to become a playground on its way to becoming a dome, a restaurant; in Tokyo, a clothing store as soft as clothing; in Coney Island an elevated subway-station façade that waves & bulges to make views & seats; in Toronto, a building-complex fence that twists & rises up the building to make wind-screens, & splits to make public-places. Being built now, in Indianapolis, is an interactive tunnel through a building where pedestrians & cyclists activate sensors that set off lights that swarm around them like fireflies.