(mechanism, environment, multimedia, interactivity)
The installation allows artists to stage the different elements of a representation. The term indicates a kind of creation that refuses to concentrate on one object in order to address the relations among multiple elements. By establishing spatial links between the object and the architectural setting, the installation makes viewers more aware of their integration into the situation created. The viewer's experience of the work is crucial. The work is a process to be perceived in the course of a displacement. The viewer, drawn into a spatial sequence eor other mechanism, participates in the work's mobility. The mechanism designates the way in which the material presentation of a work, the way it is displayed, are part of a systematic design. The mechanism creates the illusion; it is its own reality. Since the end of the 1950s, viewers have inhabited works of art in the same way that they inhabit the world. The work of art was thus elaborated as an "environment," in three dimensions, as a theatrical transposition of the painting to reality. Early on, such works came to involve viewer's physical participation, which became one of its elements. New technologies have given this participation even broader scope--the artist creates "interactive" situations in which the work reacts to the viewer/user's action. The relative reciprocity emerging between the user and a "smart" system is accentuated by artists who use computer interactivity to create multimedia environments associating image, text, and sound.
Bibliography: Michael Fried, "Art and Objecthood," in Gregory Battcock (ed.), Minimal Art (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1968). "Installation Art," Art and Design (London), vol. 8, nos. 5-6 (1993). Nicolas de Oliveira, Nicolas Oxley, Michael Petry, and Michael Archer, Installations: Art in Situation (London: Thames & Hudson, 1994).