Dream Displacement, 1976

Basel 2016
Greene Naftali
Paul Sharits is a seminal American filmmaker. His Dream Displacement is an example of a ‘locational film’ – a term coined by Sharits to refer to installations in which the mechanisms of film are foregrounded both physically and conceptually. Dream Displacement was originally exhibited at the legendary Albright-Knox Art Gallery in 1976, and was restored and re-presented there in 2012 for their group exhibition Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avant-Garde in the 1970s. The work – whose title derives from terminology used by Freud in his analysis of the unconsciousness – prompts an engagement with film as a complex material entity, rather than as a narrative vehicle. With Dream Displacement, the immobile spectator of the theater is replaced with an active participant in the gallery space, and cinematic narrative arcs are supplanted in favor of an ongoing soundtrack and a continuous reel. Sharits achieves a physical and temporal simultaneity with the viewer, a maneuver that has had lasting implications both in developing the ontological emphasis of structural film, and in contemporary film and video practice.