Kate Mondloch
 – Screens: Viewing Media Installation Art

Screens: Viewing Media Installation Art

208 pages
, Universuty Of Minnesota Press
, 2010, 
ISBN 978-0816665228
How many screens do we face in our daily lives? How much time each day do our eyes spend watching screens of various kinds? The answer can almost feel embarrassing, but it brings the huge influence that these mediation devices have on contemporary culture into focus. Unquestionably, we “see” differently now than how we “saw” twenty or forty years ago. Kate Mondloch focuses this essential book “on the experience of viewing gallery-based artworks made with film, video, and computer screens” – what is usually defined as “screen-based art”. Although screen “devices” already existed before cinema and photography, it was only from the sixties onwards that we were confronted with screens in art installations. Her analysis is constructed through different emblematic artworks, starting from seminal experiments in the early seventies by Sharits and Snow, through Gilette, Schneider’s stack of flickering televisions and Nauman’s video corridors, to Gordon’s dilatation of time and Aitken’s manipulation of narrative in screen space. Time and space are often central to contemporary art history, which largely misrepresents screen-based art. Two works of telepresence are discussed at the end of the book: one by Hershman-Leeson and Goldberg’s famous “Telegarden”. The author’s investigation of the interface artists create between screens and bodies is phenomenological, relating to the new modes of spectatorship and subjectivity in what she finally (and in timely fashion) describes as the “society of the screen”.