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Video installation is a contemporary art method that combines video technology with installation art. It is an art form that utilizes all aspects of its surrounding environment as a vehicle of affecting the audience. Its origins tracing back to the birth of video art in the 1970s, it has increased in popularity as the means of digital video production have become more readily accessible. Today, video installation is ubiquitous, visible in a range of environments—from galleries and museums to an expanded field that includes site-specific work in urban or industrial landscapes. Popular formats include monitor work, projection, and performance. The only requirements are electricity and darkness.

One of the main strategies used by video-installation artists is the incorporation of the space as a key element in the narrative structure. This way, the well-known linear cinematic narrative is spread throughout the space creating an immersive ambient. In this situation, the viewer plays an active role as he/she creates the narrative sequence by evolving in the space. Sometimes, the idea of a participatory audience is stretched further in interactive video installation. Some other times, the video is displayed in such a way that the viewer becomes part of the plot as a character in a film.

A pioneer of video installation was Nam June Paik whose work from the mid-sixties used multiple television monitors in sculptural arrangements. Paik went on to work with video walls and projectors to create large immersive environments.

Gary Hill has created quite complex video installations using combinations of stripped down monitors, projections and laser disk technologies so that the spectator can interact with the work. For instance in the 1992 piece Tall Ships the audience enters a space where ghostly images of seated figures are projected onto a wall. The movement of the audience was the figures to stand up and approach the viewer.

Tony Oursler's work exploited the technology developed in the early 1990s of very small video projectors that could be built into sculptures and structures as well as improvements in image brightness so that images could be placed on surfaces other than a flat screen.

In Britain video installation developed a distinctive pattern thanks in part to the existence of regular festivals in Liverpool and Hull and public galleries such as the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford that routinely showcased the work. Sam Taylor-Wood's early installation pieces are good examples where specially filmed elements are shown as a series of serial projections.

Iranian born Shirin Neshat combines cinematic sensibility to her video installations.

Artists working with Video Installation

See also

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