Vito Acconci gives a lecture on the development of his work from poetry to architecture. Within this presentation he describes the voice in ‘Claim’ 1971 as a kind of self talk, a self-hypnosis to convince himself of his position in space, to fix his position in space. He describes the voice in ‘Where are now (Who Are We Anyway?)’ 1976 as that which functions to oppress, to jab, to push up against the wall and in ‘The American Gift’ 1976, as that which functions to dictate and exploit. In all pieces the voice creates a kind of trap, an enclosure within the artist’s power field.
Acconci describes his shift from the intimate confessional, self exploratory pieces of the 1960s to the more sociological pieces of the 1970s. He moves from what he calls a ‘psychological self’ to a ‘sociological self’ whereby initially there is some fault to be analysed that occurs on the inside to later where this fault occurs on the outside. His voice in terms of this shift moves from the intimate confessional voice, or the voice that works in terms of ‘I’ and ‘you’ to a voice that merges with the voices of movies and the media – the voices of a ‘ground’. By ‘ground’ Acconci means a cultural ground. ‘The American Gift’ and ‘Where are we now (Who are we anyway?)’ fit into this latter context.
Acconci: ‘Sound has the quality of some kind of burden, some kind of pressure’. He continues this thought stating his works give rise to the question as to whether they are an analysis of this oppression or a continuation of it. He states that his works do not resolve this question.