A documentation of a live performance at New York University, Pryings is a graphic exploration of the physical and psychological dynamics of male/female interaction, a study in control, violation and resistance. The camera focuses tightly on Kathy Dillon’s face, as Acconci tries to pry open her closed eyes. Dillon resists, at times protecting her face or fighting to get away. Locked in a silent embrace, the couple’s struggle is violent, passionate; Acconci’s sadistic coercion is tinged with a sinister tenderness. The body is a vehicle for a literal enactment of the desire for and resistance against intimate contact.
Acconci writes, “The performer will not come to terms, she shuts herself off, inside the box (monitor), my attempt is to force her to face out, fit into the performer’s role, come out in the open.”