Art Term

Expanded cinema

Expanded cinema is used to describe a film, video, multi-media performance or an immersive environment that pushes the boundaries of cinema and rejects the traditional one-way relationship between the audience and the screen

Still image of Tate Live: Expanded Cinema

The term was coined in the mid-1960s by the US filmmaker Stan Van Der Beek, when artists and filmmakers started to challenge the conventions of spectatorship, creating more participatory roles for the viewer. They chose to show their works, not in cinemas, but in art galleries, warehouses and in the open air, and invented different ways of experiencing film through multi-screen projections.

Light Music 1975 by Lis Rhodes, comprised of two films projected into a hazy room and an intense soundtrack created from the flickering patterns on the screen.

Other proponents of expanded cinema are Carolee Schneeman, William Raban, Malcolm Le Grice, Annabel Nicolson and Gill Eatherley and more recently Mark Leckey.

related terms and concepts

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  • Watch

    Tate Live: Expanded Cinema

    Three film artists show their work in the oil tanks beneath Tate Modern.

  • Watch

    The Tanks: Lis Rhodes

    This film contains flashing images.

    Lis Rhodes is a major figure in the history of artists’ filmmaking in Britain and ...

  • Lis Rhodes: Light Music

    Lis Rhodes' performance installation Light Music. On display at The Tanks at Tate Modern 18 July 2012 - 20 January 2013

selected artists in the collection

selected artworks in the collection

expanded cinema at tate