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The electronic version of Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics is available at: www.ceeol.com

1/2012

XLIX (New Series: V)
Issued: 15th May 2012
Biannual
Founded: 1964
Re-established as an international journal: 2008
ISSN: 0014 –1291
Language: English, German

Michael Fried and Beholding Video Art

http://aesthetics.ff.cuni.cz/archive/312/michael-fried-and-beholding-video-art

 

In this article, I consider Michael Fried’s recent contribution to the debate about the experience of video art, made in relation to the work of Douglas Gordon. Fried speculates that issues of antitheatricality may in fact be key to specifying the medium of video installation. While Fried’s position on awork’s to-be-seenness offers a useful way of framing the relation with the beholder in video art, I question his notion of ‘overcoming’ theatricality – preferring to see the theatrical/antitheatrical dichotomy as a dynamic at play within individual works. I welcome what seems to be an explicit acknowledgment from Fried that the position of the spectator is a contributory factor in what he terms empathic projection, but relate this to the notion of a figural presence. I argue that video art, as a spatial practice, offers a distinct mode of reception by problematizing the position of the spectator in relation to two-dimensional figurative space to which she is excluded.