By Shepherd Steiner
Afterall Books, One Work Series
Urban parkland, invention and repetition are the key motifs of Rodney Graham’s Phonokinetoscope (2001). Drawing together Graham’s early commitment to photography and subsequent investigations into film, music and installation, the work consists of a turntable driving a projector, a vinyl LP with psychedelic rock song written and performed by the artist, and a 16mm film loop featuring Graham riding a bicycle around Berlin’s Tiergarten, while tripping on acid.
In this book, Shepherd Steiner discusses Phonokinetoscope as a pivotal work in the context of the artist’s early explorations of proto-cinema and later preoccupations with the ‘temporal object’. He uncovers a practice indebted to deconstruction and a picture of an artist engaged in the most pressing issues confronting contemporary art and theory: reference, mimesis, performance, the legacy of minimalism, topology, irony and memory.