Matteo Bittanti: Grand Theft Vito

Grand Theft Vito
Concrete Press, 2014
Paperback, 234 pages, $99

Between July 3 and 25, 2013, the San Francisco-based artists COLL.EO (comprised of Visual Studies faculty member Matteo Bittanti and partner in crime Colleen Flaherty) walked through the streets of Liberty City, the fictional metropolis of Grand Theft Auto IV, under the guise of Vito Acconci. Titled Following Bit, the performance was meant as a replay of Acconci’s seminal Following Piece (1969). Forty-four years earlier, Acconci followed for an entire month a random person each day in New York, stopping only if they entered a private space. Acconci typed up an account of each "pursuit" and sent a report to a different member of the art community the subsequent month.

COLL.EO’s 2013 replay generated an enormous set of data, consisting of 23 digital videos in high definition over 118 gigabytes in size; 13,300+ digital photos; 60 digital prints; 23 written accounts sent in tweet form, plus several typewritten pages of notes, framed and mounted to a board.

A Game Art walkthrough, this book provides a unique, in-depth documentation of Following Bit and the related art mod Grand Theft Vito (2013) through texts, screengrabs, annotations, and a long conversation between COLL.EO and the San Francisco-based artist Carlo Ricafort.