Expanded Cinema

Expanded Cinema

Expanded cinema is an artistic expression that goes beyond traditional film, including video, multi-media performances, and immersive environments.

Expanded cinema challenges the traditional one-way relationship between the audience and the screen, pushing the boundaries of cinematic experience. The term ‘expanded cinema’ was coined in the mid-1960s by the U.S. filmmaker Stan Van Der Beek. During this period, artists and filmmakers began challenging conventional spectatorship, creating more participatory roles for viewers.

They chose unconventional venues such as art galleries, warehouses, and open spaces, rejecting traditional cinemas. These artists explored alternative ways of experiencing film, often employing multi-screen projections.

One notable work in expanded cinema is ‘Light Music’ (1975) by Lis Rhodes, featuring two films projected into a hazy room accompanied by an intense soundtrack created from the flickering patterns on the screen.

Prominent figures in the expanded cinema movement include Carolee Schneemann, William Raban, Malcolm Le Grice, Annabel Nicolson, and Gill Eatherley. More recently, artists like Mark Leckey have continued to explore and contribute to the concept of expanded cinema.

Other words in the glossary

Building your collection? We can help.

Your questions, answered

Parra's studio, with Parra at the centre, his back to the camera as he works on the large painting takes centre stage, showing a faceless blue woman in a striped dress, painted in red, purple, blue and teal. The studio is full of brightly coloured paints, with a large window on the right and a patterned rug across the floor under the painting.