Performer / Audience / Mirror
Dan Graham
Brief description of the work:
Performance where Dan Graham describes the audience's behaviours (see PROCEDURE)
Materials, dimensions, duration:
A performer faces a seated audience. Behind the performer, covering the back wall (parallel to the frontal view of the seated audience), is a mirror reflecting the audience.
Location (venue & dates, public/ private):
(1977), Riverside Studios London, 1979
Audience information (size, mode of participation):
Intense focus on "... the interaction between the audience and the performer, a process during which the observer becomes conscious of him- / herself as a body and as a perceiving subject. The works develop over time, calling attention to the duration of the performance and challenging the homogeneity of the space-time relationship as experienced by the audience."
Other information (reviews, collaborators, funders):
Floorplan, scheme:

Visual/ audio-visual reference:
Key theme(s):
Intense awareness of physical presence
Further context:


online sound archive from performance (56Mb)


stage 1: The performer looks in the general direction of the audience. He begins a continuous description of the external movements and the attitudes he believes are signified by this behavior for about 5 minutes. The audience hears the performer and sees a mirrorview reverse to the performer's view.

stage 2: The performer continues facing the audience. Looking directly at them, he continuously describes their external behaviour for about 5 minutes.

stage 3: The performer faces the mirror (his back being turned to the audience). For about 5 minutes he continuously describes his front body's gestures and the attitudes they may signify. He is free to move about, to change his distance relative to the mirror, in order to better see aspects of his body's movements. When he sees and describes his front, the audience, inversely, sees his back (and their front). The performer is facing the same direction as the audience, seeing the same mirror-view. The audience cannot see (the position of) the performer's eyes.

stage 4: The performer remains turned, facing the mirror. For about 5 minutes he observes and continuously describes the audience who he can see mirror-reversed from Stage 2 (their right and left now being the same as his). He freely moves about relative to the mirror in order to view different aspects of the audience's behavior. His change of position produces a changing visual perspective which is correspondingly reflected in the description. The audience's view remains fixed; they are not (conventionally) free to move from their seats in relation to the mirror covering the front staging area.