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Installation and the Moving Image$
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Catherine Elwes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231174503

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231174503.001.0001

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The Dialectics of Spectatorship

The Dialectics of Spectatorship

(p.142) Chapter Eight The Dialectics of Spectatorship
Installation and the Moving Image

Catherine Elwes

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores the dialectics of spectatorship as it pertains to moving-image installation. It first considers Antonio Damasio's concept of a “protoself” rooted in the theater of the senses before turning to a discussion of the subject as instantiating a unique coincidence of physical and psychic attributes, framed by historical and socio-political circumstances, and endowed with varying propensities to resist or be altered by an experience of a moving-image installation. It then explains how splitting of attention between multiple dimensions in a gallery can render us imperfect spectators, and goes on to describe the notion of double consciousness or spectatorial doubleness. It also examines the issue of complicity that lies at the heart of spectatorship, and how spectatorial attention deficit has been exacerbated by the oversaturation of the digital moving image in galleries and in both civic and domestic spaces. Finally, it looks at strategies for sustaining spectatorial attention.

Keywords:   spectatorship, installation, Antonio Damasio, protoself, imperfect spectators, double consciousness, spectatorial doubleness, complicity, moving image, spectatorial attention

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