In The Phonokinetoscope, 2001, Vancouver-based artist Rodney Graham once again casts himself as the protagonist of a short film loop. But unlike the desert-isle burlesque Vexation Island, 1997, or the sepia-hued Western How I Became a Ramblin' Man, 1999, Graham's latest project allows charm to reign over travesty. The film is set in Berlin's spring-blooming Tiergarten; its only props are a playing card, a clothespin, a vintage German bicycle, a thermos, and last but not least, a blotter of lysergic acid diethylamide, which Graham casually drops on his tongue while reposing on a rock.

The title refers to an early invention of Thomas Edison's that succeeded in combining image and sound (at the turn of the century it was advertised as “the crowning point of realism”—perhaps inspiring Graham to put the device to use documenting his own departure from reality). But his film—or phonokinetograph—is

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