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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathImmersion/Participation
Body Press (Graham, Dan), 1970Deadpan (McQueen, Steve), 1997Steamboat Bill Jr. (Keaton, Buster), 1928

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«Body Press» (1970–72). A man and a woman stand back to back in a cylindrical room covered with mirrors; each one carries a camera on his or her naked body. After the actors exchange cameras at a certain point, they continue the performance, while the pictures are projected on the opposite walls of the room. [10] The viewer is thus confronted with an almost life size documentation of the human body. Three mirrors represent the different perspectives of the actors, the camera, and the observer. These views are splintered, cubist-style, allowing the physical, tactile quality of performance, lacking in its medial form, to be incorporated into the filmed images and condensing the representation of the body in its relationship to the real as well as to the projected space where the viewer stands. This creates an «exploding dynamic,» so that the film seems to transmit a sculptural, spatial presence. [11] The exploration alluded to here, of the human body and its relation to architecture and to the medium as the virtual extension of the (public) space, anticipates Graham’s time-delay video installations and mirrored, semi-transparent constructions, in which the observer and the observed are blurred into each other


by the multiple mirroring, albeit no longer due to the apotheosis of a pictorial event, but rather due to the indefiniteness of the boundaries between the spheres of the mobile, active body and its reflections. As in Dan Graham’s later mirrored environments, viewer in post-cinematic projection spaces no longer experience themselves as simply the ‹gaze,› but also as solid, corporeal subjects, because this dynamic transformation of space leads in fact to a spatialization of the temporal, an effect which has new repercussions for the projection’s moving pictures.

Steve McQueen

In his installation «Deadpan» (1997) Steve McQueen works with similar ways of affecting the viewer. As is the case in many comparable works of the 1990s, the film image here is shown in a closed, dark space, covering the wall from the ceiling to floor. In this black and white, uninterrupted loop, Steve McQueen himself appears in a scene that pretends to be a restaging of a slapstick scene from a popular, American silent movie. Patterned after Buster Keaton's role in the comedy «Steamboat Bill Jr.» McQueen’s character stands still, with his back to a house façade that is slowly toppling

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