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A History of Installation Art and the Development of New Art Forms

Technology and the Hermeneutics of Time and Space in Modern and Postmodern Art from Cubism to Installation

Faye Ran

Art mirrors life; life returns the favor. How could nineteenth and twentieth century technologies foster both the change in the world view generally called «postmodernism» and the development of new art forms? Scholar and curator Faye Ran shows how interactions of art and technology led to cultural changes and the evolution of Installation art as a genre unto itself – a fascinating hybrid of expanded sculpture in terms of context, site, and environment, and expanded theatre in terms of performer, performance, and public.


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Chapter One: Introduction 3


~ C H A P T E R O N E ~ Introduction edia ecology theory is concerned with the role of communication technologies in reshaping social and cultural conceptions, values, and practices. In the realm of aesthetic inquiry, media ecology deals not only with the ways in which technological change is implicated in cultural conceptions of art, but also with how an art piece communicates and how it affects human perceptions, feelings, concerns, understandings, and values. Other aesthetic questions of interest to the media ecologist concern the interaction between the structure of a medium of aesthetic expression and response (i.e., an artistic technology or technique) and its content; how information is perceived, coded, and interpreted through that medium; and the way the work mediates, represents, or establishes a relationship between the artist and society. My objective in this study is to explore these questions with reference to the emergence, development, structure and functions of the Postmodern Art form called “Installation” or “Installation Art.” To do so requires an over- view of the ways in which changes in nineteenth century and twentieth century technologies for representing experience symbolically, reproducing symbolic forms, and transmitting them across space and time amplified changing cultural conceptions of space and time, along with a discussion of how these technologies and space-time conceptions together fostered both the change in world-view generally called “Postmodernism” and the devel- opment of Installation Art as a distinctively postmodern aesthetic form. In effect, therefore, this study will explore the interactions of technology (particularly,...

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