In this article, I examine artworks from two periods in the history of media art—the 1970s and the 2010s—to demonstrate how changes in our haptic relationship to screen media shift the site of criticality in contemporary media art from disruption of electronic feedback toward an intensification and embrace of image flows that actively seek the viewer's touch and gesture. I situate video art within the shifting concept of flow in everyday media consumption, reading video art practices within a larger matrix of bodily and cultural engagement with screens. I locate touch and gesture as both themes in the content of single-channel works and components of the structure of video installation. Artists discussed include Camille Henrot, Joan Jonas, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Bruce Nauman, and Hito Steyerl. My analysis bridges media theory and art history with close readings of salient works of art, connecting the structure of artworks employing haptic input to shifts in the broader media ecology and the dynamic interplay of touch, image, and power under our fingertips.
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Research Article| September 01 2020
From Vertical Roll to .MOV File: Haptic Control, Flow, and Video Art
Afterimage (2020) 47 (3): 22–42.
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Annie Dell'Aria; From Vertical Roll to .MOV File: Haptic Control, Flow, and Video Art. Afterimage 1 September 2020; 47 (3): 22–42. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/aft.2020.473004
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