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Screens

Viewing Media Installation Art

2010
Author:

Kate Mondloch

Screens

Investigates how viewers experience screen-based art in museums

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.

What is most provocative and original about Kate Mondloch’s approach is that she realizes that screens are both objects and ‘virtual windows,’ material and immaterial entities at the same time. Screens has not only the potential of being a major contribution to a pre-existing art historical field, but opening up the discipline to entirely new modes of critical enquiry.

Colin Gardner, University of California, Santa Barbara

Media screens—film, video, and computer screens—have increasingly pervaded both artistic production and everyday life since the 1960s. Yet the nature of viewing artworks made from these media, along with their subjective effects, remains largely unexplored. Screens addresses this gap, offering 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 that investigate the rich terrain between the sculptural and the cinematic, including works by artists such as Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Doug Aitken, Peter Campus, Dan Graham, VALIE EXPORT, Bruce Nauman, and Michael Snow, 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.

Mondloch identifies a momentous shift in contemporary art that challenges key premises of spectatorship brought about by technological objects that literally and metaphorically filter the subject’s field of vision. As a result she proposes that contemporary viewers are, quite literally, screen subjects and offers the unique critical leverage of art as an alternative way to understand media culture and contemporary visuality.

Screens

Kate Mondloch is assistant professor of art history at the University of Oregon.

Screens

What is most provocative and original about Kate Mondloch’s approach is that she realizes that screens are both objects and ‘virtual windows,’ material and immaterial entities at the same time. Screens has not only the potential of being a major contribution to a pre-existing art historical field, but opening up the discipline to entirely new modes of critical enquiry.

Colin Gardner, University of California, Santa Barbara

Screens provides a smart, well-argued and perhaps long overdue framework for understanding how spectators engage with moving images in the gallery space.

Rhizome

Mondloch deftly integrates references to important new media scholarship, as well as feminist, semiotic, psychoanalytic, and film theory.

Choice

Mondloch explores the spatial and temporal qualities of screen-based installation art and poses provocative theoretical questions about how this work enriches our understanding of spectatorship.

Afterimage

Mondloch performs an essential role in assessing the interface between subject and object in each viewing experience.

Moving Image

Mondloch’s work adds another valuable piece to the emerging field of the history of installation art.

Art Journal

Screens is most valuable for its clear, conscientious descriptions—along with indispensable
photographs and diagrams—of artworks that are ephemeral by nature. Mondloch has an engaging style and a knack for writing concise descriptions of works that can be dauntingly difficult to visualize.

Cinema Journal

Screens is carefully and intelligently composed, useful and, in many ways, a model of scholarship. The book carefully defines its terms, is clearly structured and is elegantly written. This is an admirable book: expert, careful, smart.

New Cinemas

Screens

UMP blog Q&A: How screens (as in the computer screen you're looking at right now) have permeated so much of our everyday lives

3/3/2010
The book focuses on the experience of viewing gallery-based artworks made with film, video, and computer screens, but I encourage readers to think much more broadly. Screen-mediated viewing existed well before the invention of still or moving photographic media. Artistic screens have had an implied “depth” or virtual component to them ever since the Renaissance, for example, and camera obscura images, shadow shows, magic lantern projections, panoramas, dioramas, and a variety of peep-show based attractions also positioned their observers in front of “screens” of various kinds.
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