Nauman’s 1991 Anthro/Socio (Rinde Facing Camera) is one of his most powerful works. Rinde is seen in closeup, repeating three phrases: “Feed me/Eat Me/Anthropology”, “Help me/Hurt me/Sociology” and lastly “Feed me/Help me/Eat me/Hurt me”.

In a surprising essay in 1999, British painter Bridget Riley talks of the intelligence and humour in Rinde’s face, and that it “ensures that the work is not experienced as either menacing or threatening”, and she describes the polyphony created by Rinde’s classically trained voice, overlayed and competing with itself as it chants the one-man roundelays: “rather like a madrigal resounding in the space of a cathedral.”

For anyone who has never experienced Anthro/Socio, it is worth making the trip to Paris for that alone. “All those messages have to do with making contact”, Nauman has said. Developed out of some prints he made in the 1970s, this video installation is an endless appeal and plea for human contact.

Bruce Nauman

On three projection surfaces and six monitors, one sees the head of a man shown in different takes. While continually revolving about his own axis, in a variety of tonalities he sings «FEED ME/ EAT ME/ ANTHROPOLOGY,» «HELP ME/ HURT ME/ SOCIOLOGY,» and «FEED ME, HELP ME, EAT ME, HURT ME».
In order to grasp the full effect of the installation «Anthro/Socio,» the space has to be entered. The calls heard from different directions irritate as much as the contradictory demands, aimed at the simplest of bodily needs and questioning them at the same time. The repetition of the alarming singsong, and multiple video shots of the singer, also create a disturbing moment. In «Anthro/ Socio,» not only because of the all-encompassing sensual experience does the viewer become part of the artwork; the installation also encourages viewers to give thought to the inherent qualities of subjects and objects, and to human beings in society.