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Norma Desmond was right, the pictures got small. Once cinema filled your field of vision, but in this century, as ever cheaper digital displays have replaced projection technologies, we have grown accustomed to smaller and smaller movies. The old movie palaces, with their 50-foot silver screens, have mostly shut down. The multiplexes are in trouble. You probably watched your last movie on a 55-inch TV set, a 21-inch computer monitor, or, feel free to admit, a 6-inch cameraphone screen.

But in the 1960s, experimental artists and filmmakers were convinced that the future for cinema wasn’t to shrink down; it was to scale up, spread out, and get off the screen entirely. They wanted an expanded cinema — the term is Stan VanDerBeek’s — that could be projected in empty lofts and packed nightclubs, on multiple screens or on moving backdrops, and which implicated viewers’ bodies as much as their eyes.

Expanded cinema was a global phenomenon, practiced and theorized by pioneers such as VanDerBeek and Robert Breer in New York, Malcolm Le Grice and Lis Rhodes in London, Valie Export in Vienna, Hélio Oiticica in Rio de Janeiro. And whether they projected high-minded abstractions or hippie-conversant psychedelia, these experimental film artists had a ’60s optimism that new media could shape a new society and a new consciousness.