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Colin Marshall

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9. Vito Acconci's The Red Tapes, Part II (1976)
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The Red Tapes' second act is, geometrically speaking, pretty damn fascinating. Though the project itself remains less than coherent, part two offers a host of neat visual constructions to look at. It must be said that I hadn't expected such a stark, appealing use of angular shadow and light from the same guy who spent almost an hour squeezing man-boobs.

The most striking images in this particlar 57 minutes and 51 seconds include a series of slow fades in on sharp, obsidian-looking minimalist structures, lonely hallways with walls that rise and fall in odd ways, shafts of light escaping through abstract openings, a view upward through a fire escape and a trapezoidal "island" around which Acconci roams, delivering a monologue about starting up a new civilization himself.

That's just one of several one-man set pieces Acconci puts on in this part, the most amusing being the extended middle sequence wherein he darts back and forth across an architecturally confused, ladder-strewn living room and acts out both halves of a meandering, indirect domestic dispute as phones ring, clocks tick and alarms buzz. Unease sets in during several of these scenes, as when Acconci paces up and down the hall, compulsively checking inside the door at the end of it, or when he circles around an ever-panning camera in what looks like a brick loft, trying and failing to explain himself.

So, yeah -- The Red Tapes makes no sense, and quite frankly, I'm not holding out for everything to fall together in the final hour. But would I want it to? That I'm looking forward to watching tape three ‐ it loads even as I type -- should say all that needs be said.

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