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Vito Acconci

This video brought to you by Tate.org.uk

Pioneer of performance art Vito Acconci talks about three ground-breaking actions he staged at the Sonnabend Gallery, New York in January 1972. In Seedbed, Transference Zone, and Supply Room, the artist explores the interplay between the psychological and the social, and the overlapping boundaries of interior and exterior. Listen as Acconci, who still lives and works in New York, shares his thoughts on these three performances.
Created by Tate.

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  • leaf blue style avatar for user Melodie Ebner-Joerges
    All three of his rooms remind me philosophically of the etching ' The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters', (1799) by Francisco Goya. In all three he refers to texts of Rene Descartes (I am art) and art as myth which he despises. He seems to want to know the knowledge by engaging with it no matter what the outcome.
    Transference Zone, he seems to be involved with the discourse of punishment on humans. He punishes his own thoughts on relating his own partner to his mother, unable to accept individuality for all people because of how our social programming is so embedded. I think he is challenging the ability to transfer embedded thoughts to new ideas.
    The Supply Room I think is all about 'space' and how to use it, including himself. He was stuck but improvised one week before so it would seem he did not think it out on paper to make a plan in case he got stuck.
    The Seedbed is very primitive and all he could think of to included something from himself 'ejected' into the space was his sperm. Here I would think the painting 'The Desperate Man', (1844.45) by Gustave Courbet is appropriate.
    (3 votes)
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Video transcript

at first I wanted to think of myself as a situation maker or maybe I'm an art door hot and partes but I couldn't escape the term the word art is very often used as a kind as a kind that as a kind of as a kind of comparison you know this is as beautiful as a work as a work as a work of art which is the interesting because it's a artists or art is a term of approval just as much as it's a term of separating one kind of thing from another so there's something there's something pre-loaded about art when you say the word aren't you or you're almost already a poof I'm almost certain see that was the first piece that I was that I was I was concentrating on from the space but they were there were there were three rooms and transfer and zone was probably very unlikely piece for me because I it was a way to try to get back to past as a person came in then I would decide okay I'm going to react to this person as if this person is my my my wife my mother you know etc it was this occasion in the present that would that would be a way to read past supply room was the was the last piece thought thought about I was in one corner behind the kind of mesh screen Cathy Dylan person I was living with was in an optin opposite corner with a kind of drum set there was an audio tape inviting people to to come take me prisoner and Cathy would give people reasons why maybe I should be taken prisoner I wanted to set myself up as the the victim of a woman rather than the present where women were victims of men a real goal of mine at that point was instead of being a point in or on the space can I become part of the space when we first started to build a seed bed I was totally on the wrong on the wrong track there was a kind of raised platform and I realized in time that nobody would possibly get up to that space which led me to think that it has to be a kind of ramp in a particular subject matter of the piece I I don't think I knew what that was gonna be and a week before the show I thought okay since I'm under I'm under this war I'm I'm kind of inside this space so I thought maybe something have to come from inside me to out to outside if I'm really stuck in a project I go to rachets thesaurus it never defines words it takes you to kind of a feel of field of words I started with the word floor floor to words like undercurrent substructure and then took what's the word seat bed so that brought that brought to piece together if I'm gonna make a seed bed this is a place where I can spread seed I wanted so much performance through something that was here and now and that maybe it wasn't preserved to later and I think I took clues from generations of artists before me where if an abstract expressionist artist was asked about work they would probably say something like I don't know where it came from it just happened to come to me I wanted to know exactly where it came from I hate the idea of art and myth and seedbed has an amazing myths that I can't stand