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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathGraham
Body Press (Graham, Dan), 1970

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various historical points of reference and focuses that link on a single historical context of reflection. Nonetheless, in order to understand how Graham’s «Cinema» itself produces such a context of reflection and situates itself in it, we need to come at it from a different angle: as an analysis of the functioning of the cinema in its usual form. It is not a particular film but the cinema in the context of its normal operation that creates foundational psychological dispositions with political and ideological effects and can serve the suspension or sublation [Aufhebung] of this normality as undertaken by Graham. Thus that which requires a historical explanation may be made transparent.

Graham himself pointed out that his «Cinema» is based on concepts developed in the (meta)psychological film theory of the 1970s. This however does not mean that his «Cinema» is simply identifiable with a particular previously formulated theoretical standpoint or concept. The use Graham makes of film theoretical concepts is not covered by the relevant theories. For this reason, the critique which has been made of these theories cannot be applied directly to Graham’s «Cinema.» Instead, by


looking at the heterogeneity of the theoretical points of reference we can better grasp the complexity of the «Cinema» project and its location within an ongoing film theoretical debate.

From «Body Press» to «Cinema»

The way in which Graham uses film theoretical concepts can best be understood from his early film performances (1969–1973), each of which was based on simple tasks. [5] «Body Press» (1970–1972) stands out among these works; I therefore will explore this work more closely. Two naked performers are placed in a mirrored cylinder with their backs to one another. Each of the performers holds a camera, the rear of which is pressed to their body, and slowly leads it around the cylinder of the body. In this way, the entire upper body is probed and scanned upwards and downwards in the form of a helix. The camera records this action in the mirroring in the cylinder and at the same time is itself part of this action. After each circling, the two cameras are switched between the performers. The camera and/or the film made thus produces a continuous link between the bodily

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