Titles with or about Vito Acconci


1973, 34:12 min, b&w, sound

One of Acconci's most compelling works, Undertone is a confrontational attempt to engage the viewer in an intimate, ultimately perverse relation with the artist. Acconci sits at the end of a long table, arms hidden underneath, facing the camera/viewer. Looking down, he begins a hypnotic monologue as he tries to convince himself that there is a woman under the table rubbing his thighs, or, alternately, that it is only himself rubbing his thighs. "I want to believe there's no one here under the table ... I want to believe there's a girl here." Then, in a direct address, he implicates the viewer in this fantasy: "I need you to keep your place there at the head of the table. I need to know I can count on you..." Coercively positioning the viewer as both voyeur and accomplice, Acconci defines himself through the spectator as psychological other: "I need you to screen out my lies, filter out the lies from the real point of view."