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Dan Graham «Time Delay Room» | «Time Delay Room 5»
Dan Graham, «Time Delay Room», 1974
«Time Delay Room 5» | ©
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Dan Graham's description: «Audience a may view itself on an 8 second delay on monitor 2. Or audience A may view audience b on monitor l which also shows audience B's (monitor 1) image of audience A's own behavior of 8 seconds ago. Simultaneously audience A hears a continuous description by the performer of their behavior, 8 seconds ago, or of their present behavior, or of their behavior as a casual influence on, or being influenced by, or being a temporal forerunner of audience B's behavior. When the performer ascribes the development of audience A's present behavior to the influence of audience B's earlier behavior, this may have the effect of imposing the causal Interpretation in the performer's mind into the relationship between audience A and audience B. Alternatively, when audience A hears the performer's description of their behavior, this will anticipate by 8 seconds its own view, corresponding to this description, but not seen until 8 seconds after the description. As the description by the performer will in part refer to audience A's hearing and responding to the performer's own depictions, made before audience A is able to view for itself this behavior, a feedback interference or tautology (of effect to cause) is created. While the performer describes their behavior of 8 seconds ago, audience B may see their present responses on monitor 2. Or, correlated to the performer's descrip-tion, they may see on the 8 seconds delayed image of audience A's room that room's monitor image of audience B (as they are being observed by audience A 8 seconds ago). An alternative possibility is that the performer is describing his live image of audience A's behavior, which, however, will not be seen by audience B For 8 seconds. Or the performer may be ascribing a causal connection between audience A's present behavior (not yet seen by audience B) and audience B's behavior of 8 seconds past (which is oeing seen by audience A) which provides an outside commentary on the image audience B sees on monitor 1. When the performer projects a relation between audience A's present behavior and audience B's earlier behavior before audience B can make these connections for itself, the performer('s behavior) may impose a causal reading-pattern into audience B's (and audience A's) behavior where none or a dissimilar one may have formed. This is reinforced as they see the delayed view on monitor l of audience A, hearing and responding to the connections drawn by the performer 8 seconds in the past, where also audience A is seeing and responding to the responses of audience B's responses. The performer sees audience A live and audience B 8 seconds delayed. He alternates initially between observing and describing phenomenologically one or the other audience's behavior. He then observes both to connect the image of audience A's present behavior to that of audience B's earlier behavior – constructing a cause and effect chain of mutual influence, so that he may predict the future direction of either audience A's or audience B's behavioral moves.»

 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.)