Between the Black Box and the White CubeExpanded Cinema and Postwar Art

Between the Black Box and the White CubeExpanded Cinema and Postwar Art

Andrew V. Uroskie

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9780226842981

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Treats the contemporary explosion of artist film & video practice obliquely, using the 1960s Expanded Cinema as a historical and conceptual optic through which to reconsider entrenched paradigms of medium- and disciplinary-specificity. Contesting an endemic, medium-specific framework that would reinforce film’s proper place within the cinematic theater, the Expanded Cinema sought to displace the moving image from its established situation within the cinematic theatre so as to initiate a series of disruptive encounters across interdisciplinary institutions of artistic exhibition and spectatorship. While existing scholarship on Expanded Cinema has typically focused on European practices of the 1970s, this study explores its earlier emergence within mid-‘60s New York alongside the rise of Minimalist aesthetics and compositional revolution inaugurated by John Cage. The first chapter establishes the conceptual framework for the investigation, differentiating the idea of Expanded Cinema from the multiscreen cinema with which it was historically conflated. Situating it within a broader, post-Cagean aesthetic of institutional disruption, the Expanded Cinema circa 1966 is conceptualized as a fulcrum for the historical emergence of the moving image in the spaces of postwar art. The following chapters then trace a brief history of the idea as it grew from of the Lettrist deconstruction of the cinematic theater in the early ‘50s (chapter 2) to challenge the institutional spaces of the art gallery (chapter 3) and performance stage (chapter 4), before the incorporation of real-time video feedback begins to occasion a shift torwards the more problematically diffuse institutions of televisual culture (chapter 5).