Seedbed (1972) – Vito Acconci

Vito Acconci (1940), arquitecto, artista del cuerpo, vídeo creador y performer de instalaciones presentó en 1972 en la Galería Sonnabend de Nueva York la famosa y polémica instalación y performance Seedbed. En una gran sala vacía instaló una rampa y se situó acostado en el suelo detrás de la misma masturbándose y enunciado sus fantasías sobre los visitantes durante tres semanas, mientras éstos escuchaban por altavoces.

So, art making is literally masturbating, and the authority of the artist is confirmed by our having to take him at face value: we do not see him do anything, and for all we know he is drinking tea under the ramp. (…) Art making and masturbating, in short, create an architecture of interiority through fantasy, through imagining in the mind’s eye. But if this performance is about art and artist, it is also about masturbation-in all likelihood he was really doing itand the more Acconci comments on his work, the more it seems so. “You walk across the room, over ramp/under ramp all day,” he says. “I hear you, build up fantasies, talk to you/masturbate because of you-for you-with you.” (…)

Whatever the performance might mean about self or masturbation, however, our subject (masturbation) entered resolutely into contemporary art. And it entered as a still unengendered act; the installation would have been understood differently had a woman artist claimed to be masturbating out of sight while “viewers” walked overhead because history has given female masturbation -liberating, ecstatic, dreamy, and lyrical versus abject, humiliating and decidedly second-rate- its own gendered resonance.

Thomas W. Laqueur: Solitary Sex. A Cultural History of Masturbation. 2003.


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