Dan Graham & The Static at Riverside Studios London was originally released in 1979 by Audio Arts. The cassette features two tracks, one documenting Dan Graham’s performance of Performer/Audience/Mirror and the other documenting a live set by The Static. Both tracks were recorded live in London on February 24, 1979. Primary Information’s facsimile edition of the cassette also contains a printed interview between William Furlong and Dan Graham.
Dan Graham’s Performer/Audience/Mirror (first performed in 1975) deconstructs the relationship between a performer and his/her audience. The performance is set on a stage flanked by a large mirror in back and consists of a monologue delivered through four phases: (1) the artist facing the audience and describing himself and the attitudes his movements signify, (2) the artist facing the audience and describing their external behaviors, (3) the artist facing the mirror (back to the audience) and discussing his movements and their signification, and (4) the artist (still facing the mirror) describing the audience and their movements through a reverse perspective.
The second track is a 41-minute live recording of the No Wave band The Static, who performed after Graham. The Static rip through several songs including “Inspirez Expirez” and “Don’t Let Me Stop You,” which appears on the band’s lone release from the 70s, Theoretical Record. The band’s lineup was Glenn Branca on guitar, Barbara Ess on bass, and Christine Hahn on drums, with all of them contributing vocals.
Dan Graham is an artist based in New York. Since the 1960s, he has produced a wide range of work and writing that engages in a highly analytical discourse on the historical, social, and ideological functions of contemporary cultural systems. Architecture, popular music, video, and television are among the focuses of his investigations, which he articulates through essays, performances, installations, videotapes, and architectural/sculptural designs. Graham’s writings on rock music were compiled and released as Rock/Music Writings by Primary Information in 2009.
The Static was formed in 1978 by Glenn Branca, Barbara Ess, and Christine Hahn, all of whom were active in the No Wave scene then burgeoning in exhibition venues and performance spaces in New York City. Chip Dyke briefly played second guitar in 1978. Prior to the band’s formation, Branca was performing with the Theoretical Girls (the name of which comes from Dan Graham) before starting the project Daily Life with Ess, Hahn and Paul McMahon. Following McMahon’s departure from the band, the remaining members formed The Static, with Branca writing 16 songs for the band before they split up at the end of 1979.