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Motion(less) PicturesThe Cinema of Stasis$
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Justin Remes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169639

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169639.001.0001

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Serious Immobilities

Serious Immobilities

Andy Warhol, Erik Satie, and the Furniture Film

(p.31) 2 Serious Immobilities
Motion(less) Pictures

Justin Remes

Columbia University Press

This chapter analyzes furniture music and furniture films. Even though Erik Satie did not coin the term furniture music until 1917, it seems clear that the idea was already in its formative stages in 1893 when he composed Vexations, a delicate and haunting piece of music that would eventually be seen as his most radical composition. Satie was interested in music that was not meant to be closely listened to, but was instead designed to serve as a backdrop for other activities, such as conversing, eating, and drinking. Likewise, films by Andy Warhol such as Sleep (1963) and Empire (1964), are best understood as furniture films—works designed to be viewed partially and distractedly. One of the primary functions of Sleep and Empire is to direct the viewer's attention away from the screen, promoting a distracted, fragmentary, and unfocused mode of spectatorship.

Keywords:   furniture music, furniture films, Erik Satie, Vexations, Andy Warhol, Sleep, Empire, distracted spectatorship

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