Unlike English or French, early twentieth-century German did not adopt a single term for “screen.” Instead, a range of terms—and practices—proliferated. This essay explores three terms and practices developed especially within avant-garde circles: Fläche (surface), Leinwand (canvas), and Schirm (scrim). Fläche was championed as material and real; Leinwand was dismissed as immaterial and illusionistic. Schirm, however, challenged these oppositions. Rather than succumb to the traditional avant-garde choice between material reality and immaterial illusion, László Moholy-Nagy advanced a third option: the immaterial reality of Schirme, that is, phantasmagoric presences in our real time and real space.

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