Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathImmersion/Participation

icon: previous page

structure and fictitious dialogue sequences, which force the audience to oscillate between role of the eyewitness and the potential fellow actor. This kind of reception aesthetic, which Michael Fried has criticized for being a «fictitious viewing position» pre-calculated and inserted in its entirety by the artist, is based upon a revealing psychology of reception. Its performative disposition can be compared to early documentary videos by Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, Chris Burden, or Joan Jonas, in the sense that it transposes the action (a depiction of an all-encompassing experience) through the medially over determined physical presence of the (virtual) protagonist onto the (real) viewer, thus giving the impression of a real, live situation through physical, psychic, and institutional frameworks. At the beginning of the 1970s, film and video broadened the visual spectrum of performance and action pieces, by forcing their respective presence as two types of media «between» the artists and the public. In emphasizing «presence and place,» the physical presence of both performer and public in a given space was initially the chief characteristic of this form of art, which was up-andcoming in the 1960s.


The new possibilities afforded by the ‹video performance› allowed for a more experimental development of these ‹situative› forms of artistic expression. Interweaving action and recording media allowed each to become increasingly complex, without fundamentally depriving either of the ‹aura› of the live event, which was the public’s orientation point. Fried’s critique of the minimalist work of art’s dependence on the observer — that it depended upon the public to act as a sounding board, and thus secretly elevated the public’s status above that of the actual «work» — is blithely undermined by the conscious use of theatricality in the works of the 1990s. This theatricality does not merely demonstrate the importance of time for the medium of video, but precisely accentuates the explicit, performative quality of the relationship between the observer and the work. [9]

Dan Graham

An early attempt to experimentally investigate this transition or disruption between representation and physical experience is Dan Graham's installation

icon: next page