“Cannon” and “Finger” are two action-objects that manifest the viewer’s consciousness as the signified of the aesthetic act. In conceptualism, it is precisely consciousness (and not the artistic object) that principally takes on that aesthetic objecthood that is the site of artistic occasion.
During the viewer’s interaction with “Cannon,” a change of perceptual paradigm occurs in the consciousness (from a visual paradigm to an auditory one). Prior to “Cannon,” the aesthetic event-ness of contemporary art occurred inside a visual paradigm (including in the objects of Duchamp, dada, etc.).
The object “Finger” allows the viewer to enter into the aesthetic event and simultaneously to distance himself from the self “here and now,” looking at the art object. He finds himself on a higher level of aesthetic contemplation and discourse, since he can use his “inner” vision to “see” (to consider) himself from the outside. He becomes his own art object. “Finger” is an intentionally subjective-objective installation which allows for phenomenological reduction (see E. Husserl).
“Cannon” (1975) and “Finger” (1978) are two of a number of foundational works of the Moscow conceptual school that determine this school’s working method with aesthetic material and the consciousness of the viewer perceiving it.
The group “Collective Actions” has been working on the basis of principles laid out in these objects for more than 30 years now (from 1976 to the present, the group has carried out 108 actions).