vito acconci - seedbed - le bastart

From tactile cinema to virtual interaction: voyeurs, handsies and exhibitionists

In a letter to Buñuel, Dalí speculate on the feasibility of a cinema that went beyond the retinal. He imagined a conveyor belt in front of the viewer where there would passing tactile substitutes of what was seen on the screen: would pass grafts of hair when is seen the sex of a woman, rubber breasts when the protagonist caresses a girl’s ones…


Duchamp dadaist joke with his Prière de toucher (latex breast asking to be touched) shared Dalí concerns for dislocating feelings with synesthetic correspondences, while reversing museum protocols (orthodoxy of not touch) that relegate the aesthetic pleasure on the visual.

While in Étant donnes (a sprawled woman visible only through a peephole) Duchamp staged the pornofication of voyeurism, in the latex breast opposed to private watching the public touch.

Valie Export. Tapp und tastkino
Valie Export. Tapp und tastkino

From view we pass symbolically to possess when touch comes in. With possession comes into play the issue of gender roles, which in the sixties Valie Export literally took to the streets with Tapp und Tastkino (Cinema to feel and touch). By making her naked breasts (but hidden by a curtain) a travelling stage and inviting passers-by to touch them, disrupted the principle of privacy that guarantees scoptophilic spectator pleasure.

Regina Fiz
Regina Fiz. Sala Hiroshima, Barcelona.

Versus passive woman exhibited as an object in the world of art, Export opposed the image of the woman owner of her body and image. His challenge to the patriarchal gaze is still claimed today by artists such Regina Fiz, who moved the struggle for sexual empowerment toward the queer. In a recent performance (Barcelona, 2015), she was seated with trousers opened in genital area as Export wore on that occasion (1969) when she entered a porn cinema brandishing a shotgun. Regina doesn’t exhibit her pubis but a plastic penis. Behind her, a screen is showing the action of Valie, but feedbacked by the record of what happens in real time. Recording and action, present and past, overlap. The viewer-voyeur is attacked twice, with the gun and being introduced on stage without notice.

Javi Moreno. Seed bed: failed.version.
Javi Moreno. Seed bed: failed.version.

The ambivalence between active and passive subject, between public and artist, between offer yourself and obey the others, between the hiding and the spectacle becomes even murkier in the virtual world. In Seedbed: failed.version Javi Moreno reinterprets in 2.0 language the famous action in which Vito Acconci masturbated under a false floor made in a gallery to hide himself from visitors and introduce the noise of steps and voices in his sexual fantasies.

Moreno arrayed a double game: he hided physically in the gallery but over-exposed himself in a page of cybersex. By registering and showing his body on CAM4, he acceded to requests from other chathosts, and it was released in the exhibition space. What the visitor didn’t know was that the room being recording by webcam was in the same gallery, so viewers comments were integrated into the piece.

Javi Moreno. Instalación en Homesession (Bcn).
Javi Moreno. Instalación de S.b, Homesession

But beyond the nod to Acconci, Moreno reflects on the exacerbation of exhibitionism in interactive environments of amateur sex, on abjection that each one submits willingly, on the reconfiguration of identity based on the transformation of oneself sexual object. New models of subjugation, self-inflicted and reproduced ad infinitum, simulated pleasures, overacting multiplied in the labyrinths of circus mirrors from cyber-reality.

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