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Vito Acconci, Open Book, 1974

Vito Acconci

1974

Vito Acconci's open mouth is framed by the camera in an extreme close-up, bringing the viewer uncomfortably close. A desperate sense of strained urgency comes across as Acconci gasps, “I'll accept you, I won't shut down, I won't shut you out.... Im open to you, I'm open to everything.... This is not a trap, we can go inside, yes, come inside....” Acconci continues to plead in this way for the length of the tape, his mouth held unnaturally wide open. The pathological psychology of such enforced openness betrays a desperate struggle to accept and be accepted by others. The sustained image of Acconci's open mouth also evidences a sinister, vaguely threatening streak that is more or less evident in much of Acconci's work.