Vito Acconci (1940-2017)
Face-Off (1973)
1973, 32:57 min, b&w, sound

Face-Off is an ironic collusion of private and public, of exposure and masking, a tense ritual wherein Acconci divulges and then censors his self-revelations. Acconci turns on a reel-to-reel audiotape recorder and bends down to the speaker to listen to it, his face barely visible in the frame. The audio is a recording of his own voice addressing himself and the viewer, recounting intimate details about his life. However, whenever the material becomes too personal, he tries to drown out his voice and prevent the viewer from hearing, yelling: "No, no, no, don't tell this, don't reveal this...." Reacting to his recorded voice, he becomes increasingly agitated as the tape proceeds. Acconci has stated that this work was intended to "dig into the past" as he tries to "face the facts," claiming, "I really want other people to find out these secrets because they can establish a kind of image for me." By preventing the viewer from hearing, of course, his "secrets" remain only implicit. As the double entendre of the title implies, he both invites and avoids a direct confrontation with the viewer. -- EAI

This title is available for exhibitions, screenings, and institutional use through Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), NY. Please visit the EAI Online Catalogue for further information about this artist and work. The EAI site offers extensive resources for curators, students, artists and educators, including: an in-depth guide to exhibiting, collecting, and preserving media art; A Kinetic History: The EAI Archives Online, a collection of essays, primary documents, and media charting EAI's 40-year history and the early years of the emergent video art scene; and expanded contextual and educational materials.

Vito Acconci in UbuWeb Sound
Vito Acconci in the UbuWeb Anthology of Conceptual Writing