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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 Four: A Prehistory of Installation Art From Tableau Object to Tableau Vivant 61


~ C H A P T E R F O U R ~ A Prehistory of Installation Art From Tableau Object to Tableau Vivant arshal McLuhan, in Understanding Media, is concerned with the psychic and social consequences resulting from the exercise and operation of a given medium rather than with the internal content transmitted by the medium. According to McLuhan, the message of any given medium or technology is the change in scale, pace, pattern, and form of human association, behavior and understanding. 1 Installation Art as a postmodern medium for artistic expression bears a message of investigation, challenge and reassessment of spatial representation, a questioning of spatial and temporal parameters, and the socio-cultural assignments and assoc- iations with specific spatial-temporal constructs, patterns, and values. The ideological latitudes and attitudes of installation art works include experi- ments in extensionality, displacement, and emplacement, encompassing a broad range of works dealing with acts of “placing,” “misplacing,” “re- placing” and “displacing”—from large and small physical incarcerations, containerization and habitation, to territorial incursion, navigation, colonial- ization, acts of population and depopulation, anchorage, dislocation, storage, packing and wrapping. Installation Art has its terminus a quo in the total field perspective derived from Cubist collage. 2 Cubism, by seizing on instant total awareness suddenly announced that the ‘medium is the message.’ Is it not evident that the moment sequence yields to the simultaneous, one is in the world of structure and configuration? Is that not what has happened in physics as in painting, poetry and com- munication...

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