© Generali Foundation Collection—Permanent Loan to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg

Dan Graham

Performer/Audience/Mirror, 1975

Documentation of the performance at Video Free America in San Francisco Video, black and white, sound, 22 min 52 sec


Artwork text

Recorded at Video Free America in San Francisco, this work is a phenomenological inquiry into the audience/performer relationship and the notion of subjectivity/objectivity. Graham stands in front of a mirrored wall facing a seated audience; he describes the audience’s movements and what they signify. He then turns and describes himself and the audience in the mirror. Graham writes: “Through the use of the mirror the audience is able to instantaneously perceive itself as a public mass (as a unity), offsetting its definition by the performer(’s discourse). The audience sees itself reflected by the mirror instantly while the performer’s comments are slightly delayed. First, a person in the audience sees himself ‘objectively’ (‘subjectively’) perceived by himself, next he hears himself described ‘objectively’ (‘subjectively’) in terms of the performer’s perception.” (SR-KA)