Sunday, December 9, 2007

Installation art

Installation art uses sculptural materials and other media to modify the way we experience a particular space. Installation art is not necessarily confined to gallery spaces and can be any material intervention in everyday public or private spaces.
Installation art incorporates almost any media to create an experience in a particular environment. Materials used in contemporary installation art range from everyday and natural materials to new media such as video, sound, performance, computers and the internet. Some installations are site-specific in that they are designed to only exist in the space for which they were created.

This genre of contemporary art came to prominence in the 1970s. Many trace the roots of this form of art to earlier artists such as Marcel Duchamp and his use of the readymade or to Kurt Schwitters' Merz art objects, rather than more traditional craft based sculpture. The intention of the artist is paramount in much later installation art whose roots lie in the conceptual art of the 1960s. This again is a departure from traditional sculpture which places its focus on form. Early non-Western installation art includes events staged by the Gutai group in Japan starting in 1954, which influenced American installation pioneers like Allan Kaprow.

Installation as nomenclature for a specific form of art came into use fairly recently; its first use as documented by the OED was in 1969. It was coined in this context in reference to a form of art that had arguably existed since prehistory but was not regarded as a discrete category until the mid-twentieth century. Allan Kaprow used the term “Environment” in 1958 to describe his transformed indoor spaces; this later joined such terms as “project art” and “temporary art.”

Essentially, installation/environmental art takes into account the viewer’s entire sensory experience, rather than floating framed points of focus on a “neutral” wall or displaying isolated objects (literally) on a pedestal. This leaves space and time as its only dimensional constants. This implies dissolution of the line between art and life; Kaprow noted that “if we bypass ‘art’ and take nature itself as a model or point of departure, we may be able to devise a different kind of art… out of the sensory stuff of ordinary life”

Interactive installation is a branch off the installation arts category. Usually, an interactive installation will often involve the audience acting on it or the piece responding to the user’s activity. There are several kinds of interactive installations produced, these include web-based installations, gallery based installations, digital based installations, electronic based installations, etc. Interactive installations are mostly seen from the 1990s, when artists are more interested in the participation of the audiences where the meaning of the installation is generated.

With the improvement of technology over the years, artists are more able to explore out of the boundaries that were never be able to explore by artists in the past. The media used are more experimental and bold; they are also usually cross media and may involve sensors, which plays on the reaction to the audiences’ movement when looking at the installations. By using virtual Reality as a medium, immersive art is probably the most deeply interactive form of art. At the turn of a new century, there is a trend of interactive installations using video, film, sound and sculpture.

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