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Published on Jun 1, 2008
The dynamic tension between 'I and you,' artist and viewer, is perhaps most brilliantly realised in 'Theme Song', a pivotal work. Here he uses the close-up to construct a charged confrontation with the viewer. Acconci is 'face to face,' his head looming onto the screen. With a disquieting intimacy, he shifts between vulnerability and manipulation, candour and seduction, in a pop song driven 'come-on' to the viewer. While Acconci's monologues often refer specifically to women, 'Theme Song' is effective precisely because the 'you' here is un-gendered, non-specific, universal: 'You could be anybody out there.' Describing a relationship of trust and deception, Acconci ultimately acknowledges that the notion of being 'face to face' is, after all, a rather pathetic illusion: 'I can feel your body right next to me...I know I'm only kidding myself...You're not here'