time… space

Video wasn’t only used as interactive art works, it was as well used to create and define a space, as in Dan Graham’s installations. His works have as concepts subjectivity and objectivity and the observer and observed. “The artificiality of the video and of the projectors, aided by mirrors and showcases, had enabled Dan Graham to explore perceptive dimensions that were in no way dependent on Renaissance perspective: an orderly and scientific rebellion that surveyed every spatial possibility.”[1]

dan graham’s ‘present, continuous, past(s), 1974






Writer Brian Wallis has said that Graham’s works “displayed a profound faith in the idea of the present, [he] sought to comprehend post-war American culture through imaginative new forms of analytical investigation, facto-graphic reportage, and quasi-scientific mappings of space/time relationships.” The concepts behind Dan Graham’s artwork explore the effect that the space has on the viewer, physically engaging the viewer into the work. His pavilions are steel and glass sculptures, which create a different space that disorients the viewer from his/her usual surroundings or knowledge of space.

My first performance experiment consisted on one actor inside a flat, as showed in the diagram above (on the right) being filmed by a camera connected to a projector. The image from the camera is projected across the street, on the walls of another flat, creating the impression that the flat across the street is without walls and you can see through. The audience is whoever crosses the street on that moment. As a first experiment I wanted to check technical issues, if the projector was good enough, if the street was dark enough and to lead me to further thoughts. Everything worked and the main feedback I got was the relation between my practice and Dan Graham’s first installations, in 1970, which were in effect research into re-dimensioning space and time, on the basis of the viewer’s perspective. It is a interactive work with the viewer, depending on it to actually became an artwork.

“I’m interested in inter-subjectivity, exploring how a person, in a precise and given moment, perceives him/herself while at the same time watching other people who in turn are watching him/her. (…) I was interested in the relation between group perception and the perception of the individual spectator, the one who had time to ponder.” Dan Graham[2]

Relating the way Graham’s uses video, and his concepts to develop work – and also installations, sculptures and architecture – with the way video is used in theatre and performance, as I will exemplify soon, I am able to relate how time and space can be perceived and explored into different kinds of artwork: one in which the viewer is perceiving time and space because of his own interaction (on Graham’s) and other in which the viewer is perceiving it because of the performers interaction with video. And my practice is between the two, as has the viewer’s perception as well as the performer.

Moreover, the time delay is linked to drug-produced hallucinatory conditions where you re-insert into the present tense what you have just done, moving in a kind of mental space-time.” Dan Graham








[1] “Dan Graham, ARTIST, Maybe ARCHITECT”, article by Massimiliano di Bartolomeo. Massimiliano di Bartolomeu is an architect.

He lectures on environmental architecture at Milan Polytechnic and writes regularly for Domus.

[2] Artland, Dan Graham’s interview by Pietro Valle http://architettura.it/artland/20020515/index_en.htm

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