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Dan Graham «Body Press»
Dan Graham, «Body Press», 1970 – 1972
1970 | Photography | © Kramlich Collection

 Dan Graham
«Body Press»

Film installation of two synchronized silent 16mm-film projections, color, 8'.

Two filmmakers stand within a surrounding and completely mirrorized cylinder, body trunk stationary, hands holding and pressing a camera's back-end flush to, while slowly rotating it about, the surface cylin-der of their individual bodies. One rotation circumscribes the body's contour, spiralling slightly upward with the next turn. With successive rotations, the body surface areas are completely covered as a template by the back of the camera(s) until eye-level (view through camera's eyes) is reached; then a reverse mapping downward begins until the original starting point is reached. The rotations are at a correlated speed; when each camera is rotated to each body's rear it is then facing and film-ing the other where they are exchanged so the camera's ‹identity› ‹changes hands› and each performer is handling a new camera. The cameras are of different size and mass. In the process, the performers are to concentrate on the coexistent, simultaneous identity of both camera's describing them and their body. (The camera may/or may not be read as an extension of the body's identity.) Optically, the two cameras film the Image reflected on the mirror which is the same surface as the box (and lens) of the cam-era's five visible sides, the body of the performer, and (possibly) his eyes on the mirror (In projection what is seen by the spectator).
The camera's angle of orientation/view of the area of the mirror's reflective image is determined by the placement of the cam-era on the body contour at a given moment. (The camera might be pressed against the ehest but such an upward angle shows head and eyes). To the spectator the camera's optical vantage is the skin. (An exception is when the performer's eyes are also seen reflected or the cameras are seen filming the other). The performer's musculature is 'seen' pressing into the surface of the body (pulling inside out). At the same time, kinesthetically, the handling of the camera can be 'felt', by the spectator, as surfacetension, as the hidden side of the camera presses and slides against the skin it cov-ers at a particular moment. The films are projected at the same time on two loop projectors, very large size on two opposite, but very close, room walls. A member of the audience (man or woman) might identify with one image or the other from the same camera or can identify with one body or the other, shifting their view each time to face the other screen when the cameras are exchanged.

(Source: Dan Graham, Works 1965 - 2000 [on the occasion of the Exhibition Dan Graham Works 1965 - 2000, organized by the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto ; Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, January 13 through March 25, 2001 ... Kiasma - Museum of Contemporary Art / [ed.: Marianne Brouwer. Texts: Marianne Brouwer ...]. - Düsseldorf, 2001, p. 132.)