Wednesday, October 10, 2007
"Public space is the air space between bodies and information and other bodies; public space is a mix of electronic current and sexual magnetism. So much information fills the air, and so many things and so many bodies, that you can trust and love any one of them 'only for the time being'; there's no danger of being a true believer, no danger of being a husband or a wife--you're playing the electronic field, you're on the move and on the make...
...The model for a new public art is pop music. Music is time and not space; music has no place, so it doesn't have to keep its place, it fills the air and doesn't take up space. Its mode of existence is to be in the middle of things; you can do other things while you're in the middle of it. You're not in front of it, and you don't go around it, or through it; the music goes through you, and stays inside you. It's a song you can't get out of your head. But there are so many voices, too many songs to keep in your head at once; you walk down the street and hear one song from the soundbox you carry with you, another song blaring out of an audio speaker in front of a store, one more through an open bedroom window, yet another coming off the radio in a car that speeds by another car with still one more, and then another, as the driver changes stations. This mix of musics presents a mix of cultures; of course pop music exploits minority cultures, but at the same time it 'discovers' and uncovers them, so that they become born again to sneak into and under the dominant culture. The music of the 70s was punk; the music of the 80s was rap. Each of these types is music that says: you can do it, too. You don't need a professional recording studio, anybody can do it themselves, in the garage and in the house. The message of punk was: do what you can do and do it over and over, until everybody else is driven crazy. The message of rap is: if something has been done better by somebody else, who had the means to do it, then steal it, and re-mix it, tape is cheap and air-space is free. The message of punk and rap together is: actions speak louder only because of words, so speak up and talk fast and keep your hands free and your eyes wide open and your ear to the ground and be quick on your feet and rock a body but don't forget to rock a culture, too."
[Vito Acconci, from Public Space in a Private Time, 1990]