303 Gallery presents “Phonokinetoscope”, a 16 mm film installation by Rodney Graham inspired by Thomas Edison’s invention of the “kinetophonograph.” The installation includes music and film both conceived and performed by Graham.
The “Phonokinetoscope” is composed of a turntable, amplifier, speakers, a 16 mm projector, a power driven looper, a five minute 16 mm film loop and a 33 1/3 rpm vinyl L.P. The turntable and projector are linked so that when the needle is placed on the record the projector starts. The film stops when the record ends or if a viewer lifts the needle off of the record; the moving image and music are constantly out of sync.
Graham takes LSD and proceeds to ride his bicycle through the Tiergarten in Berlin. On this pastoral trip through nature we are presented with a series of observations that seem somewhat ponderous due to what we assume to be Graham’s state of altered perception. There are a myriad of references, some obvious, like Hoffmann’s (the inventor of LSD) unintentional acid trip, while riding a bicycle home from his laboratory one evening. In another passage Graham rides his bike backwards over a bridge reminiscent of the sequence where Paul Newman rides backwards in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” The observations and interconnections become increasingly complex as you sit through the ongoing loop’s hypnotic repetition but essentially Graham shows a world rich with subtle meaning, derived as much from pop culture as from the 19th century.
Rodney Graham's recent exhibitions include "City Self/Country Self: Edge of a Wood" at Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin, Germany; "The Nearest Faraway Place...", with Bruce Nauman at the Dia Center for the Arts in New York and he has work in "010101: Art In Technological Times" at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California. “Current 29: Rodney Graham” will open at the Milwaukee Art Museum in December 2001.