Phonokinetoscope by Rodney Graham

Please note: This exhibition runs from 24th September 2013 until 9th November 2013.

To coincide with the publication of the latest in Afterall’s One Work series, Afterall will exhibit Rodney Graham’s Phonokinetoscope, a 16mm film installation in which the artist is seen riding his bicycle through Berlin’s Tiergarten while taking LSD, to the soundtrack of a fifteen-minute song written and performed by Graham.

Inspired by Thomas Edison’s invention of the kinetophonograph, the turntable drives the projection of the film. The film starts when the needle is placed on the record and stops when the needle is taken off. Graham’s ride evokes the Swiss scientist Albert Hofman’s famous 1943 bicycle ride home after an experimental dose of LSD as well as Paul Newman’s backward-facing ride in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; the accompanying music presents a thicket of riffs and borrowings. As the images and visual details repeat in the film’s loop, the artist’s sometimes-playful observations and references become increasingly complex.

Phonokinetoscope refers to a surprising number of works of art and literature, displaying a world rich with subtle meaning. The song, slightly shorter in duration than the film’s length repeats three times on one side of the LP. The film loops until Graham’s psychedelic rock epic comes to an end or whenever one chooses to lift the needle off the record.

Image credit: Rodney Graham, Phonokinetoscope, 2001, installation with modified turntable, 33 rpm vinyl LP, speakers, film projector, 16mm colour film.