Outer and Inner Space was first exhibited by Warhol at the Filmmakers Cinematheque in New York City in January 1966, and was screened on only a few other occasions in the 1960s. It had not been seen for over 30 years until 1998, when it was restored by The Museum of Modern Art in New York and premiered as an installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art in October 1998.
Outer and Inner Space is a 16mm film of Edie Sedgwick sitting in front of a television monitor on which is playing a prerecorded videotape of herself. On the videotape, Edie is positioned on the left side of the frame, facing right; she is talking to an unseen person off-screen to our right.
In the film, the “real” or “live” Edie Sedgwick is seated on the right side of the film frame, with her video image behind her, and she is talking to an unseen person off-screen to our left. The effect of this setup is that it sometimes creates the rather strange illusion that we are watching Edie in conversation with her own video image.
The film is two reels long, each reel is 1,200 feet or 33 minutes long, and the videotapes playing within the film are each 30 minutes long. The two film reels are projected side by side, with reel One on the left and reel Two on the right, and with sound on both reels. So what you see are four heads, alternating video/film, video/film, and sometimes all four heads are talking at once.
Outer and Inner Space is Warhol’s first double-screen film and an important transitional work, since the double-screen format was very important in his later cinema.
In an interview published in Tape Recording magazine, Warhol talked about what he particularly liked about video:
Question: Have you recorded from a television set with the video recorder?
Warhol: Yes. This is so great. We’ve done it both direct and from the screen. Even the pictures from the screen are terrific. Someone put his arm in front of the screen to change channels while we were taping and the effect was very dimensional. We found you can position someone in front of a TV set and have it going while you’re recording. If you have close-ups in the TV screen, you can cut back and forth and get great effects.
The restoration of Outer and Inner Space is part of a long-term collaborative project by the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York to catalogue, research, preserve, and exhibit the films of Andy Warhol. Since the project began in 1988, MoMA has restored over 270 of Warhol’s Screen Tests and more than 40 other films, including the 8-hour Empire, and the 5-and-a-half-hour Sleep.
For further information on Andy Warhol’s Outer and Inner Space see
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