A Movie Will Be Shown without the Picture

Louise Lawler first presented A Movie Will Be Shown without the Picture in 1979 in the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, California. The work involved presenting the soundtrack from the film classic The Misfits of 1961 in a typical cinema setting–the screen itself, however, remained empty. The cinema billboard outside announcing the pictureless presentation of a film, without identifying it, was part of the concept. The audience found itself in the dark, with only the voices of the actors (Montgomery Clift, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe) to fall back on, and more than usually aware of themselves and the other viewers. Lawler interrupts the normative relation between seeing and knowing that is crucial for the cinematic experience: the bodiless actors’ voices and the viewers’ bodies that are present prevent any form of illusionist immersion. A Movie Will Be Shown without the Picture has been performed several times and with different films.



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