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Dan Graham «Time Delay Room» | «Time Delay Room 3»
Dan Graham, «Time Delay Room», 1974
«Time Delay Room 3» | ©
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Dan Graham's description: «When the performer sees the audience on the live monitor, the audience sees his reactions on monitor l at a time synchronous to their behavior. It takes about 3 seconds for the performer to verbalize a description of his response to what he sees. The audience sees their behavior 8 seconds delayed on monitor 2. If the performer is observing their behavior 4 sec-onds delayed, his reactions are seen on monitor l only 4 seconds before the audi-ence sees itself on monitor l, his comments sometimes foreshadow, sometimes slightly follow (going in and out of phase with) the view of their behavior played back 8 seconds delayed. The performer sees and describes the Image on either the live-monitor or the 4 second-delayed-action-monitor. He briefly notes behavioral changes, constructing for each image a phenomenological continuity; then he switches quickly to the other Image. He now constructs a projected line of development or a continuity by observing both images simultaneously and then noting how the live behavior affects or deter-mines the behavior of 4 seconds later. His responses are seen and his verbalizations heard by the audience at the time he makes them.»

 Dan Graham
«Time Delay Room»

This closed-circuit installation was varied by Dan Graham six times following the same structural set-up as described below:
«Two rooms of equal size, connected by an opening at one side, under surveillance by two video cameras positioned at the connecting point between the two rooms. The front inside wall of each features two video screens - within the scope of the surveillance cameras. The monitor which the visitor coming out of the other room spies first shows the live behavior of the people in the respective other room. In both rooms, the second screen shows an image of the behavior of the viewers in the respectively other room - but with an eight second delay.
The time-lag of eight seconds is the outer limit of the neurophysiological short-term memory that forms an immediate part of our present perception and affects this «from within». If you see your behavior eight seconds ago presented on a video monitor «from outside» you will probably therefore not recognize the distance in time but tend to identify your current perception and current behavior with the state eight seconds earlier. Since this leads to inconsistent impressions which you then respond to, you get caught up in a feedback loop. You feel trapped in a state of observation, in which your self-observation is subject to some outside visible control. In this manner, you as the viewer experience yourself as part of a social group of observed observers [instead of, as in the traditional view of art, standing arrested in individual contemplation before an auratic object].

(Gregor Stemmrich, «Dan Graham,» in Thomas Y. Levin, Ursula Frohne, Peter Weibel (eds.), CTRL[SPACE]. Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother, ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, 2001, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, London, 2002, p. 68.)