‘Rotary Psycho-Opticon’ (2008)


Rodney Graham, ‘Rotary Psycho-Opticon’ (2008). Courtesy Rodney Graham and Lisson Gallery.

This multimedia installation is inspired by a prop that was used by the band Black Sabbath performing the song ‘Paranoid’ on Belgian television in the 1970s. ‘Rotary Psycho-Opticon’ is powered by a stationary bicycle which, when engaged, drives a kinetic sculpture, reminiscent of the 1935 roto-relief optical discs of Marcel Duchamp. The swirling discs create a form of ‘moving image’ recalling similar optical effects used by the psychedelic movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Borrowing from existing models, Graham constructs his own system, whose operating logic, often based in disorientation, the humorous and the absurd, deflects rather than reveals the key to their interpretation.


Rodney Graham is recognised for a rigorously intellectual art, which ranges from photography, film, video and music to sculpture, painting and books. Graham’s work examines social and philosophical systems of thought, in particular those derived from the transition of the Enlightenment into Modernism. He lives and works in Vancouver, Canada and is represented by Lisson Gallery (London).