Kate Mondloch






Screens: Viewing Media Installation Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2010)

Media screens—film, video, and computer screens—have increasingly pervaded both artistic production and everyday life since the 1960s. Yet the nature of viewing artworks made from these media, along with their subjective effects, remains largely unexplored. Screens addresses this gap, offering a historical and theoretical framework for understanding screen-reliant installation art and the spectatorship it evokes.

Examining a range of installations created over the past fifty years that investigate the rich terrain between the sculptural and the cinematic, including works by artists such as Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Doug Aitken, Peter Campus, Dan Graham, VALIE EXPORT, Bruce Nauman, and Michael Snow, Kate Mondloch traces the construction of screen spectatorship in art from the seminal film and video installations of the 1960s and 1970s to the new media artworks of today’s digital culture.
Mondloch identifies a momentous shift in contemporary art that challenges key premises of spectatorship brought about by technological objects that literally and metaphorically filter the subject’s field of vision. As a result she proposes that contemporary viewers are, quite literally, screen subjects and offers the unique critical leverage of art as an alternative way to understand media culture and contemporary visuality.
CH.1       Interface Matters: Screen-Reliant Installation Art
CH.2      Body and Screen: The Architecture of Screen Spectatorship
CH.3      Installing Time: Spatialized Time and Exploratory Duration
CH.4      Be Here (And There) Now: The Spatial Dynamics of Spectatorship
CH.5      What Lies Ahead: Virtuality, the Body, and the Computer Screen


Book Reviews

“The centrality of screens in postmodern culture continues to inspire large amounts of critical and theoretical thought, but their place in installation art has received less than its fair share of attention. By approaching the subject armed with insights from Art History as well as Film and Media Studies, Mondloch begins a scholarly conversation that is long overdue, asking us, like the works she analyzes, ‘to ‘think through’ our thinking through media screens.'” –David Sterritt, Cinema Journal


“We are increasingly a society of screen-based spectators who gain our knowledge about art and culture though the proliferation of screen-based images. [Screens] highlights art as a central force in commenting on and responding to contemporary culture.”  –Romy Hosford, Afterimage


“Screens provides a smart, well-argued and long overdue framework for understanding how spectators engage with moving images in the gallery space. Its promise is that is has the capacity to speak to a much larger body of work…from art that explores virtual worlds such as Second Life and the increasingly common use of small, embedded media players, to the potential re-reading of historical works—painting, printmaking, performance and more.”  –Nathaniel Stern, Rhizome


“Wonderfully clear description…a serious, systematic study of media works as installation art.”  –Monica McTighe, Art Journal


“Screens is carefully and intelligently composed, useful and, in many ways, a model of scholarship. The book carefully defines its terms, is clearly structured and is elegantly written. This is an admirable book: expert, careful, smart.” — Jen Harvie, New Cinemas


“Video art is only one small component of this well constructed history of ‘screen-reliant installation art.’ The latest in the Electronic Mediations series from University of Minnesota Press, this volume stands alone in its ability to finally situate this medium in its art historical and theoretical contexts.” — Sarah Falls, Art Libraries Society of North America


Screens provides a sustained, interesting reflection on that curious in-between space dividing viewers and screens, and Mondloch acts as a passionate and sophisticated guide.” –Holly Willis, The Moving Image


“[Mondloch’s] formulations are now a sort of ground floor for others to build upon or contest in the years to come. One suspects that the typology and the conceptual armature set out here will come in handy for whatever is around the corner.” –Ian Balfour, Oxford Art Journal