Titles with or about Vito Acconci


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.