Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 12 noon to Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 12 noon
Light Industry at Dia:Chelsea:
Anthony McCall's Long Film for Ambient Light

535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor
New York, New York

Presented with The Artist's Institute

Light Industry is excited to announce that we've just signed a 5-year lease on a new, ground-floor space at 155 Freeman Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, which we'll be sharing with our friends Triple Canopy and The Public School. While the venue is being renovated over the summer, Light Industry will continue presenting a regular series of events at venues across the city, beginning with Anthony McCall's Long Film for Ambient Light at Dia:Chelsea.

For the final show at our former location, McCall presented a rare screening of Line Describing a Cone and related films. It’s fitting, then, that we continue on with his equally paracinematic Long Film for Ambient Light, which is the culmination of a body of work McCall began with Line Describing a Cone. Seen here for the first time in New York in over thirty years, Long Film for Ambient Light reimagines the relationship between the event of cinema and its location.

Long Film for Ambient Light…was inspired by a particular context, that of the Idea Warehouse. This was a large loft space on Reade Street that was managed by the Clocktower. I was invited to participate in a sequential group show, where each artist was offered the complete space for two days. My installation began at noon on June 18, 1975, and finished twenty-four hours later, at noon on June 19. The work used no actual film or projector. Three distinct elements combined to form the ‘film,’ and no one of these was regarded as prior to the other two. These were, first, an altered space: a single electric light hung in the center of the room at eye level. The windows were covered with white paper, limiting them to being light sources during the day and reflective surfaces (‘screens’) during the night. Second, there was a time schema on the wall that identified the time period of the presentation but suggested its continuity outside the twenty-four hours; third, there was a two-page statement on the opposite wall, ‘Notes in Duration.’ The notes criticized the hierarchical distinction that was routinely made between the so-called atemporal arts such as painting and sculpture, and the time-based arts such as film, video, and dance. It maintained that everything that occurs, including the process of looking and thinking, occurs in time and that, therefore, the distinction is absurd. (Of course, the distinction was often made in order to put time-based art in its place, to make the claim that important aesthetic developments were always made—and always would be made—by painting and sculpture.)

“As an experience, Long Film for Ambient Light seemed at first sight to be a simple installed environment. The shifts that occurred within it, such as the transition the covered windows underwent from being light sources during the day (a row of projector gates?) to being ‘screens’ at night (reflecting the light from the electric light bulb) were too gradual to see happening. However, the film existed in the space between the room, the statement, and the time schema, and could be grasped as such. And the visitors who came more than once, who visited at a point during the day and again at a point during the night, were able to confirm for themselves the turnaround that had occurred in the space during their absence. The installation sat precisely on a threshold, on one side of which was ‘time-based’ art, and on the other, ‘non-time-based’ art.” — Anthony McCall

To mark the latest iteration of Long Film for Ambient Light, Light Industry is now hosting an online portfolio of installation documents detailing the history of the piece, drawn from McCall's personal archives.

Admission free.

Special thanks to the Dia Art Foundation.

Presented as part of Couchsurfing.