Seeing and Time: Video Art as Experience on Art:21

While blogging time has been scarce this week, I’ve been somewhat spared the appearance of slackitude by the appearance of my writing on art blogs elsewhere, from my Akimblog Hamilton report earlier this week to today’s posting at Art:21 of my guest blog on their current Flash Points topic, ‘How do we experience art?’

Ryan Trecartin, “Any Ever,” 2010, installation view. Photo by Steve Payne, courtesy The Power Plant.

While I also wrote a standard exhibition review of the four Images Festival exhibitions at The Power Plant this past spring for MAP Magazine (including that great divider of local opinion at the time, Ryan Trecartin), ‘Seeing and Time: Video Art as Experience’ takes an experiential approach to the physical and temporal demands of film and video installations in an age of shortened attention spans:

It is neither a secret nor a surprise to know that, irregardless of broad worldly appeal, the average Louvre visitor views the Mona Lisa for a scarce fifteen seconds before moving on. In comparison to this unmoving matriarch of art history, one almost expects film and video art to defy this short attention span by virtue of its tendency to unfold over a longer period of time. However, in my capacity as both artist and critic, I have all too often witnessed people bring a new flavor of evasiveness to the viewing of time-based works. The darkened gallery space is approached tentatively like the site of an unseemly peep show, where the visitor clings hesitantly to the threshold of the room – inevitably hindering the entrance of braver souls – before slinking off with the visible shame of one who feels he/she has failed to get the point of it all.

Read the rest of the article here. And I promise I’ll be back with fresh content next week following tonight’s James North Art Crawl.

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