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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathGraham
Gregor Stemmrich
Cinema (Graham, Dan), 1981


Dan Graham began his conceptual work in the early 1960s. Today he is best known for the hybrid architectural designs and sculpture pavilions made of twoway mirrored glass that he has been making since 1978. On the one hand, these are conceived as models of thought that open up a critical perspective. [1] On the other hand, they are intended as concrete models of experience that implicate the spectator/visitor in a complex game of reflections, transparencies and multiple points of view. Requiring neither any particular historical knowledge nor even an interest in art, these works instead offer a corporeal understanding of culturally- and psychologically-based perceptual dispositions. In some of the sculpture pavilions, the integration of the historical conceptual model’s specifications and those of the experiential model is successful primarily on an emblematic level. Graham considers his 1981 work, «Cinema,» which today exists only as an architectural model, as an example in which these specifications effectively coincide.

Graham’s «Cinema» is integrated into a typical office building with a «glass curtain wall» made of


two-way mirror glass. This has the property of becoming a mirror on the side with more light, while for the observer on the darker side it becomes transparent. In contrast to the transparent glass that once had been used in corporate architecture, these windows create the impression of being psychologically sealed off from the outside world. The «Cinema» is located on the ground floor of a corner building, in which on the side facing the street corner a slightly curved projection screen made of two-way mirrored glass is inserted. (We see only a flat plane instead of a cylinder segment in the model.) The projection screen is visible from the outside and protected from the street by normal glass. The rows of seating in the square interior are placed on a diagonal and form an incline. The first rows are located seven feet (approximately 2.10 m) beneath the projection wall. (In the model, this distance is not precisely reproduced, since this would have required building some kind of basement.)

The passerby on the street can see the film, without sound and reversed, and, depending on the lighting in the film itself (that is, depending on whether

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