In This Article Video Installation

  • Introduction
  • Edited Collections and Anthologies on Video Art and Installation
  • Artists’ Moving Image Installation: Articles, Essays, Monographs
  • Interviews, Conversations, and Round Tables on Artists’ Moving Image Installation
  • Recent Surveys of Video Art
  • Expanded Cinema
  • Video Ecologies
  • Video Aesthetics
  • Installation Art and the Rhetoric of the White Cube
  • Selected Moving Image Installation Exhibition Catalogues
  • Video Sculpture Exhibition Catalogues
  • Video Projection Exhibition Catalogues

Cinema and Media Studies Video Installation
by
Johanna Gosse
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 February 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0325

Introduction

While at first, “video installation” would seem to refer to a particular medium and mode of display, in practice, the term is applied to a range of intersecting media, histories and genres, including but not limited to experimental and expanded cinema, video art, installation art, digital and new media art, and the emergent category of artists’ moving image. In short, “video installation” encompasses an expansive field of moving image practices, formats, and configurations, from multichannel film projection to video sculpture to immersive and interactive media environments. The term can apply to moving images that emanate from or are projected onto screens, monitors, or mobile devices, and are displayed in spaces outside of a conventional cinematic context. In terms of historical periodization, the rise of video installation coincided with the emergence of analog video technology in the mid- to late 1960s and the concomitant emergence of installation art during this same period. Up until the 1980s, video installation took shape predominantly as gallery-based displays of CRT monitors. Often configured into sculptural arrangements that self-reflexively acknowledge their physical support, “video sculptures” invoke and comment upon video’s genetic ties to broadcast television. Yet, other, more feedback-driven modes of installation, such as Nam June Paik’s TV-Buddha (1974) or Bruce Nauman’s Live-Taped Video Corridor (1970), emphasize the instantaneity of real-time closed circuit video over the sculptural presence of the monitor, and thus privilege surveillant over the televisual optics. By the 1990s, as video projectors improved in quality and decreased in cost, the bulky CRT gave way to the projected moving image, which in turn has emerged as a dominant mode within contemporary artistic production. Since it can adapt to a variety of spaces and surfaces—wall, ceiling, floor, screen, objects, even viewers’ bodies—projection opens up a multitude of experiential possibilities. Projection can also be sculptural, as in the work of Tony Oursler and Krystof Wodizcko, who generate uncannily embodied video portraits by projecting moving images onto free-standing objects, buildings, and monuments. Video projection can also be immersive or environmental, such as in Anthony McCall’s Solid Light Works (2005–2010), a suite of monumental, linear beams of white light projected into darkened gallery spaces, which act as updated, digital variations of his influential expanded cinema work, Line Describing a Cone (1973). In response to its dominant position within contemporary artistic practice, scholarship and criticism devoted to moving image installation, curation, and distribution have spiked since the 1990s. This bibliography offers a selection of relevant literature on this topic. Beginning with an overview of key scholarship on the history of video art and contemporary artists’ moving image, the bibliography transitions to more focused, thematic investigations of and significant prehistories, including topics like expanded cinema, video aesthetics and ecologies, and installation art. Finally, it includes a selection of key exhibition catalogues, including specialized sections on video projection and video sculpture. In tracing the entwined emergence of video and installation art since the 1960s, this bibliography also limns another historical intersection, that of video art and experimental film. While typically, these practices have been framed as historically distinctive, aesthetically autonomous and driven by medium-specific concerns, this bibliography takes inspiration from and highlights more recent scholarly, critical, and curatorial perspectives that align and cross-reference these traditions, and in doing so, situate themselves at the disciplinary intersection of art history and film and media studies.

Edited Collections and Anthologies on Video Art and Installation

Since the late 1970s, multiple edited collections and anthologies have gathered writings by art historians, critics, curators, and artists on video art. The works in this section can be divided into two generations of primary and secondary sources. Battcock 1978; Hall and Fifer 1990; Hanhardt 1986; and Korot, et al. 1976 are essential primary sources by artists and critics that have shaped the field. Bovier and Mey 2015, Comer 2009, Hatfield 2006, Jennings 2015, Leighton 2008, and Trodd 2010 are more recent anthologies of scholarly and critical writings on video.

  • Battcock, Gregory, ed. New Artists’ Video: A Critical Anthology. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1978.

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    Anthology compiled by noted critic gathering together reprinted and original essays by prominent artists and commentators on early video, mostly hailing from the New York scene. Notable contributions include “The End of Video: White Vapor” by Douglas Davis; Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman’s “Videa, Vidiot, Videology”; Lynn Hershman’s “Reflections on the Electric Mirror”; and a reprint of Rosalind Krauss’s seminal essay “Video: The Aesthetics of Narcissism.”

  • Bovier, François, and Adeena Mey, eds. Exhibiting the Moving Image: History Revisited. Zurich, Switzerland: JRP I Ringier, 2015.

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    Collection stemming from a research project and conference held at the ECAL/University of Art and Design, Lausanne, focusing on the “exhibitionary complex” (qua Tony Bennett) that supports, controls, and maintains contemporary moving image art spectatorship. Includes historical case studies of moving image exhibition history and practice, from prominent scholars of artists’ moving image, including Erika Balsom, Maeve Connolly, Giuliana Bruno, and Kate Mondloch.

  • Comer, Stuart, ed. Film and Video Art. London: Tate, 2009.

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    Survey of film and video edited by former curator of Media Art at Tate Modern, currently chief curator of Media & Performance at the Museum of Modern Art. Chapters of particular relevance to the topic of video installation include essays by Michael Newman, John Wyver, and Christiane Paul.

  • Hall, Douglas, and Sally Jo Fifer, eds. Illuminating Video. New York: Aperture Foundation, 1990.

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    Significant collection of critical writings by leading artists and critics, including Martha Rosler’s influential essay “Video: Shedding the Utopian Moment.” Chapters are organized according to the following themes: Histories, Furniture/Sculpture/Architecture, Audience/Reception: Access/Control, Syntax and Genre, and Telling Stories. Margaret Morse’s essay “Video Installation Art: The Body, the Image, and the Space-in-Between” is of particular relevance to the subject of video installation.

  • Hanhardt, John G., ed. Video Culture: A Critical Investigation. Layton, UT: Peregrine Smith Books, 1986.

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    A collection of short texts divided into three sections. The first, “Theory and Practice,” provides background through excerpted texts by major critics and theorists of 20th-century media and culture such as Walter Benjamin and Jean Baudrillard. Two subsequent sections examine different dimensions of video art practice—“Video and Television,” “Film and Video: Differences and Futures”—with excerpts from key texts by influential critics, artists, theorists, and curators of video such as David Antin, Rosalind Krauss, Stanley Cavell, Nam June Paik, and Jack Burnham.

  • Hatfield, Jackie, ed. Experimental Film and Video: An Anthology. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.

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    This highly illustrated anthology that brings together artworks, writings, and interviews by a broad array of contemporary artists working in experimental film, video art, and interactive digital media. Contributors consider the history of experimental moving image practice by contextualizing their own practice against the history of experimental moving image practice since the late 1960s. Introduced by three prominent UK-based scholars of film and video: Hatfield, Sean Cubitt, and A. L. Rees.

  • Jennings, Gabrielle, ed. Abstract Video: The Moving Image in Contemporary Art. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015.

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    Edited collection that focuses on the history and aesthetics of abstraction in moving image art, from abstract animation, “visual music,” and expanded cinema to more contemporary phenomena like CGI, glitch, and new media installation. Contributors include John Hanhardt, Cindy Keefer, and Gregory Zinman, with a forward by Kate Mondloch.

  • Korot, Beryl, Mary Lucker, and Ira Schneider, eds. Video Art: An Anthology. London and New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976.

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    Includes reprints of a number of influential early essays on video art, including David Antin’s “Video: The Distinctive Features of the Medium,” which originally appeared the ICA Philadelphia’s Video Art catalogue from 1975.

  • Leighton, Tanya B., ed. Art and the Moving Image: A Critical Reader. London: Tate, 2008.

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    Edited collection highlighting the intersection between postwar and contemporary art and the moving image, from avant-garde cinema to expanded cinema to video installation. Of particular relevance to the topic of video installation are Liz Kotz’s essay “Video Projection: The Space between Screens” and Ursula Frohne’s “Dissolution of the Frame: Immersion and Participation in Video Installations.

  • Trodd, Tamara, ed. Screen/Space: The Projected Image in Contemporary Art. Manchester, UK: University of Manchester Press, 2010.

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    Collection examining the history of the projected moving image, from the historical avant-garde to digital installation art. Introduction outlines its aim to move beyond medium-specificity in favor of questions of spectatorship, audience experience, and institutional politics. Contributors analyze the projected moving image across technological supports, from 16mm film to slide shows to HD digital video, with particular attention to the material specificities of gallery installation. Of particular relevance to video installation is Joanna Lowry, “Projecting Symptoms.”

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