Vito Acconci (1940-2017)

1. The American Gift

1976, 42:36 min

Alternating between an English lesson, in which a French-speaking man and woman translate English phrases, and short "samples" of what Acconci calls "the voice of America" - movie soundtracks, Creole singers, honky-tonk piano - The American Gift investigates the problematics of translation and nationality.

2. The Gangster Sister From Chicago Visits New York (A Family Piece)

1977, 7:50 min

Originally installed in a makeshift "house" painted red, white, and blue, this provocative audio piece features Acconci addressing imaginary characters - Mama, Daddy, Big Brother, Sister, and Jesus - in a singular take on the American family.

3. Under-History Lessons

1976, 21:25 min

Playing both the teacher and the students, Acconci enacts a series of short lessons, from "Lesson 1: Let's Believe We're in This Together" to "Lesson 12: Let's be Oppressed," offering an ideosyncratic take on the ideological underpinnings of American education and society.

4. The Bristol Project (45:00) 2001

5. Words: Program No. 12: Vito Acconci (November 17, 1969)

One in a series of programs produced by Clark Coolidge that feature the works of late 20th century poets, sound poets, and authors. This recording presents two tape works by Vito Acconci. Coolidge quotes the particular circumstances behind each work given by the author. Acconci's performance of "A Tape Situation Using Running, Counting, Exhaustion" was recorded in New York's Central Park in 1969. The second piece presented on the program, "A Tape Situation Using A Ball, Rolling, Stopping, Walking Over, Position", was recorded on August 13, 1969 in a New York loft.

6. Interiors. Buildings. Parks. (2004)

Interiors (20' 53")
Buildings (21' 06")
Parks (22' 56")

Soundtrack from the film Vito Acconci / Acconci Studio: Interiors. Buildings. Parks. (directed by Julia Loktev, 2004)

7. Ten Packed Minutes (12:33)

Ten Packed Minutes: Written 1977. Musical excerpts from the recordings of Leon Redbone, Cow Cow Davenport, Eric Dolphy, Karl Berger and Ornette Coleman.

Originally from the LP Airwaves (One Ten Records), 1977

This is written before the piece is recorded. What I want is: ten packed minutes (that can be the title-or, maybe, "Ten Minutes to Zero".) The beginning is a single voice: crooning familiars as a base for tongue-twisting (after all, this is a record: there's no space to pin down here-now do you get the picture?-so there are games in the air, yes, it's you/me/ we/go/come/who goes further/the question is, who made somebody come tonight, who among those crowds of people ... ) But the song drifts off: there's a world out there, besides you and me: so this is a record of war, there's been an invasion of the city that could have been built into the empire of our love. But things go quickly, on the air: there's an underground, time passes, the scene changes: this is like overhearing a police broadcast: there's a report, from person A, under the grating, of person B's movements, on top of the grating-have we caught a sneak out of those multitudes of armies? (So the picture becomes clearer, no? But, all the while, there's always the thought: we can go to the movies later.) Say, then, that person C has escaped: there's a bar in another part of the forest: but person C fades away here, person C is just the excuse for the placement of a duel duet: bring back the music, bring on the night. After a life like this, I come back to you, bearing my very first songs: but, now, by this time- oh-oh-oh ... At this point, then the picture should have disappeared right in front of your eyes; but what replaces it is, no, not a thousand words-rather, the sound of the sounding that the words were there merely to prop up. - Vito Acconci


Vito Acconci in UbuWeb Film & Video
Vito Acconci in the UbuWeb Anthology of Conceputal Writing