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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathImmersion/Participation
Third Party (Taylor-Wood, Sam), 1999

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Framing the Viewer

Recent developments in the field of electronic image generation have made new immersion and participation techniques available, opening up new avenues for artists. Multiple parallel projections and narrative strands in current works by Sam Taylor-Wood explode space and time structures. Moreover, by overlapping various camera angles, image segments, and audio impulses scenographically, they also achieve «multiple sight and sound aesthetics,» which require active interplay between the viewer, the video recording, and the acoustic recording. Based on the principle that the point of view can be duplicated by using various cameras (which react to each other like various points of mechanical articulation), each individual perspective of a scene is projected parallel to others; thus the spatial continuity, which is maintained in live television (even though this continuity is produced by means of several cameras, the action is always broadcast from only one side at a time), as well by means of the 180 degree rule in both television and film is interrupted. At the same time, this challenge to normative film syntax supports the spatial quality of the moment of action, which in turn is supported by the


participation of audience members, whose task it is to synthesize the information offered by the work in question. When various aspects of the medium are thus separated, the challenge to creative reception becomes so great that the function of the actors—to make psychological and physical connections—is only fulfilled if the viewer participates in the reception of the work. To the same extent that the viewer has become an active participant in such pieces as these, the parameters of reception aesthetics as they were criticized by Michael Fried have indeed become key to the functioning of such pieces.

Sam Taylor-Wood

In Sam Taylor-Wood’s work, the main theme is the demand on the viewer’s ability to make associations. (Fig. 11) Although life-size projections are shown on all four walls of the room, they form a story that becomes legible because the individual segments, which are neither edited nor linked, are displayed simultaneously next to each other. This principle reaches its peak in her 1999 work, «Third Party» in which seven party scenes, which take place simultaneously, surround the viewer.

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