© Generali Foundation Collection—Permanent Loan to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Repro: Werner Kaligofsky

Dan Graham

Helix/Spiral, 1973

Film installation 2 films, 16mm, transferred from Super-8-films, color, silent, synchronous projection on 2 opposite walls 2 min 33 sec (loop) Edition 1/10 + 2 A. P.


Artwork text

A stationary inner cameraman slides the back end of his camera while pressing it flat against his body; it moves in a gradually descending helix from eyes to feet so the entire surface area of his body is topologically covered. As the camera rotates, circumscribing the body, it films the outside 360 degrees of the surrounding space. At each moment and point on the body the specific angle of the body’s contour determines the camera’s plane or angle of orientation; each second it is filming the light reflected from the particular environmental plane facing parallel to the camera’s front plane, while the other, obverse, side of the filmed exterior is the negative, the cylindrical hole is the larger 360 degree topology wholly occupied by that person’s body. At a distance on the horizon of the inner filmmakers’ view, a second filmmaker with camera’s viewfinder to his eye walks inward in a gradual spiral whose center is the position of the first filmmaker. In walking he maps in his spiraling the complete topographic surface area in 360 degrees between the inner performer and his initial distance. He reaches the point of the inner filmmaker when this performer has taken his camera to feet or ground-level. The outside man’s aim is to continuously center his camera on the inside camera while continuously having himself centered in the view of that camera. To achieve this as he spirals, he adjusts his forward movement relative to the rate with which the inside cameraman manipulates the camera around his body. (Dan Graham)