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Screens: Viewing Media Installation Art

Kate Mondloch
Volume: 30
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 160
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Screens offers a historical and theoretical framework for understanding screen-reliant installation art and the spectatorship it evokes. Examining a range of installations created over the past fifty years, Kate Mondloch traces the construction of screen spectatorship in art from the seminal film and video installations of the 1960s and 1970s to the new media artworks of today’s digital culture.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7361-2
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction Screen Subjects
    (pp. xi-xxii)

    Media screens—film screens, video screens, computer screens, and the like—pervade contemporary life, characterizing both work and leisure moments. If in earlier times our sense of self was constructed through language, discourse, or a print-based culture, the screen-based interfaces that define countless forms of communication between subjects have made us, as the epigraph by Vivian Sobchack suggests, “quite other than we were before.”¹ The film scholar’s influential work exemplifies the mounting interest in theorizing the impact of media technologies on modes of vision and, indeed, on contemporary subjectivity. While there is a growing body of literature on screen-mediated visuality...

  5. 1. Interface Matters Screen-Reliant Installation Art
    (pp. 1-19)

    Art critic and historian Michael Fried’s groundbreaking 1967 essay, “Art and Objecthood,” is best known as a studied rejection of minimalism, or, as Fried preferred to call it, “literalist” art. Fried recognized that this new genre, inasmuch as it compelled a durational viewing experience akin to theater, undermined both the medium specificity and the presumed instantaneousness of reception foundational to the Greenbergian/Friedan account of modernism. The impact of Fried’s discerning analysis upon contemporary art history and criticism is incontestable. For the purposes of the present study, however, a little remarked upon footnote in this otherwise exhaustively analyzed article is especially...

  6. 2. Body and Screen The Architecture of Screen Spectatorship
    (pp. 20-39)

    Frank Gillette and Ira Schneider’sWipe Cycle(1969) greets viewers with flickering black-and-white electronic images that rotate through a grid of nine stacked televisions. Commonly lauded as the first work in the field of video installation,Wipe Cyclealso numbers among the first to incorporate live feedback by employing closed-circuit video technology. The television sets are arranged in rows of three—an illuminated tic-tac-toe board displaying continuously shifting arrangements of live and prerecorded footage interspersed with images of the work’s viewers themselves. Observers stand entranced before the glowing sculptural environment, studying the intricate shifting combinations of pictures, including their own...

  7. 3. Installing Time Spatialized Time and Exploratory Duration
    (pp. 40-59)

    It is well known that installations made with time-based media have become increasingly pervasive since the 1990s, aided by the enthusiastic institutional embrace of this now predominant art form and exemplified in celebrated screen-reliant sculptures by artists such as Tacita Dean, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Douglas Gordon, Doug Aitken, Bruce Nauman, Pierre Huyghe, Pipilotti Rist, Sam Taylor-Wood, and Stan Douglas. The temporal dynamics of post-1990 screen-reliant installation art have been rigorously assessed in recent years by scholars in art history as well as film and media studies.¹ In spite of important differences in their specific arguments, these critics share an interest in...

  8. 4. Be Here (and There) Now The Spatial Dynamics of Spectatorship
    (pp. 60-76)

    As in everyday life, cinematic and electronic screens in gallery-based installations consistently draw our attention, however fleeting, to the light-based imagery presented on their surfaces. Our cultural habit of immediately looking at media screens and our propensity to view them as windows onto other representational or informational spaces—concentrating on the spaces depicted “on” or “inside” the screen—has special consequences for the complex spatial dynamics of screen-reliant installation art spectatorship. This chapter is concerned with the ways in which space was conceived in the environmental media works that flourished in the midst of widespread artistic experimentation with spartial and...

  9. 5. What Lies Ahead Virtuality, the Body, and the Computer Screen
    (pp. 77-92)

    Computer science prodigy Ivan Sutherland’s prescription for the “ultimate display” in 1965 came down firmly on the side of representational illusionism. The computer screen should function as an Albertian window: a flat surface through which to behold simulated, virtual spaces. Only two decades later, sociologist and philosopher Jean Baudrillard diagnosed a situation in which virtual screen-based spaces appeared poised to become the primary sites for mediating between real world environments. The transformation from Sutherland’s seemingly audacious proposition to developvirtualscreen-based environments to the acknowledgment of computer-mediated telepresence and teleaction betweenactualenvironments is a dramatic one.¹ Both thinkers’ remarks,...

  10. Afterword Thinking through Screens
    (pp. 93-96)

    “The limits of my language are the limits of my world,” Wittgenstein once wrote. InThe Virtual Window, Anne Friedberg adds new life to the philosopher’s celebrated axiom by mapping it onto the visual register: “The limits and multiplicities of our frames of vision determine the boundaries and multiplicities of our world.”¹ If this is so, and indeed this is a foundational premise of the present study, then it is incumbent on us as critics, historians, and practitioners to theorize and construct our interactions with screens (among our principal “frames of vision”) as conscientiously as possible. This is the shared...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 97-121)
  12. Index
    (pp. 123-130)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 131-131)