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The Seedbed: Can Masturbation be considered performance art?

October 19, 2014

In January 1971, artist Vito Acconci hid underneath a fake floor which he had built in a New York art gallery, called the Sonnabend Gallery. Every day for two weeks, while people visited the gallery and walked over Acconci's fake floor, they could hear him saying sexual fantasies that were about the audience members who were walking above him. This "floor" was a wooden plank that was slightly slanted and extended from the floor to the fall. Acconci's voice was echoed through a microphone while he masturbated underneath the audience. Later, Acconci recalls his experience in the "Seedbed" when stating "I could hear visitors’ footsteps on top of me, I could build sexual fantasies on those footsteps, those sexual fantasies could keep my activity going, keep my masturbation going – but the visitors had to know what I was doing, so, just as I heard visitors’ footsteps on top of me, they had to hear me under them – so I spoke my fantasies aloud: I came, a visitor might think I was doing it just for her, just for him – my goal of producing seed led to my interaction with visitors and their interaction, like it or not, with me…". Is this unacceptable and disrespectful to the audience who had attended? How can it be considered a piece of performance art? Article: http://artlark.org/2014/01/29/vito-acconcis-seedbed-art-and-pornography/

 

 

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