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Installation Archive: A Capsule Aesthetic

Introduction

Installation Archive: A Capsule Aesthetic is a collection of user-generated social media videos documenting viewers' experiences with the installations in my print book, A Capsule Aesthetic: Feminist Materialisms in New Media Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2017). The print book explores how selected new media installations by internationally renowned artists Pipilotti Rist, Patricia Piccinini, and Mariko Mori offer novel experiential environments for exploring, inhabiting, and even critiquing our entanglements with science and technology in the 21st century.


This collection of moving image uploads—or what I like to call “here’s my experience” videos—offers a novel form of crowd-sourced art historical documentation. Perhaps needless to say, visitor-generated videos of viewers' particularized experiences with installations challenge conventional art historical standards of documentation. Because we did very minimal editing (weeding out only things that, despite their titles, had no images of the work in question), these innumerable and fluctuating social media uploads depict installations from highly idiosyncratic and subjective points of view (for example, user-added personal commentary or supplemental text, abnormal audio or ambient noises, multiple and sometimes unrelated works documented in a single video, and so on). And yet, looked at in a different light, these very “limitations” prove to be enormous assets. As these social media uploads underscore, art spectatorship is inherently multiple because artistic experience itself is multiple.

Three sample user-generated videos are shown below. More videos are available on individual artists' pages.

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