Vito Acconci performing Seedbed, 1972
In the piece, there is a low wooden ramp merging with the floor. The ramp extends across the width of the room, beginning two feet up the side of one wall and slanting down to the middle of the floor.
In his original performance of the piece, Acconci lay hidden underneath the ramp installed at the Sonnabend Gallery, masturbating. The artist’s spoken fantasies about the visitors walking above him were heard through loudspeakers in the gallery.
Over the course of three weeks, he masturbated eight hours a day. In Seedbed, Acconci is the producer and the receiver of the work’s pleasure. He is simultaneously public and private, making marks yet leaving little behind, and demonstrating ultra-awareness of his viewer while being in a semi-trance state.