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Dan Graham

Cinema

1981

Two Sided Glass, Theater Seats, Film, Lights

 

Dan Graham’s work, Cinema, is an interesting and multidimensional piece. His notoriety of creating architecturally intricate works that often play with the concepts of perception and light incites consideration of relationships between things such as psychology and society. In the case of Cinema, Graham assembled a specialized movie theater on a ground floor office corner using a system of two sided glass and mirrors. The way in which he set these pieces of glass up allowed for a variable system of perceptions to take place, the lighter of the two sides only seeing a reflection from their end while the darker side instead sees a transparency. With this setup, the relationship between the two glasses varies over the duration of the piece. The outside public space is able to see the inside as the movie going audience enters and exits the theater, the rest of the time seeing a muted, horizontal mirror image of the movie in progress. The inside sees a combination of the movie as well as a layered transparency of the outside sidewalk activity, only obscured between showing times when the outside can see inward. This intricate setup calls upon themes such as perception, voyeurism and self awareness. In being able to semi-view the public engaging in various activities and then being later subjugated to one’s own reflection(as well as their audience on the other side) it can open one’s eyes to the amount that they perhaps engage in watching other people or conversely how much they have been watched by others. It also touches on the habitual nature of cinematic experiences as well as political power[2]. Graham never placed a specific message or meaning behind his work, leaving it only as an event serving to direct attention toward Cinema, Cinema habits and perception.

 

 

[1]: Image source and information

[2]: Additional information