In this feature-length silent film, Acconci is interested in language, the power of words and the qualities of Super8 film – a medium originally without sound. ‘My Word’ explores different genres; the work constantly switches between a personal reverie – a ‘monologue interieur’ and a letter directed at different (indeterminate) women with whom he had relationships.
Handwritten intermediate titles alternate with images of the interior of the artist’s loft as well as the roof, with the skyline of downtown New York as a backdrop. When Acconci appears in the frame, he doesn’t move freely in the space, but explores the walls with his body, folds himself into a window casing or walks round in a spiral. Just like the images and interspersed texts, Acconci’s actions are a metaphor for his isolation.
As so often in Acconci’s works, the (presence of a) viewer is essential to its existence. The viewer is truly forced into a paradoxical, uncomfortable position by the artist. On the one hand, he/she is an accesory to what happened in Acconci’s (unresolved) past; on the other hand, he/she is a voyeur (or worse, an intruder who is sometimes positioned outside the game). In this way ‘My Word’ construes a strange sort of triangular relationship between the artist, the mysterious women to whom Acconci refers, and the viewer. Still more deeply buried text, images and actions in Acconi’s intimate world and personal past, accumulate into a situation in which the artist directs the ‘word’ at himself: a literally silent scream of a lone figure who – not without a bit of self-mockery – laments his own existence and actions.