Multiscreen video art. The advantage of the multiscreen over single screen presentations.
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As medium in art, video is now both recognized and used worldwide. But why do artists choose for multiscreen presentations instead of single screens? My lead research question in this thesis is: what advantages does the artistic use of multiple screens have over the use of a single screen in video art installations? In chapter one I sketch a small history of video art and tie the evolution of multiscreen video art to the rise of performance and installation art, as well as to certain evolutions within visual culture. Chapter two looks at the work of three artists and the artistic intentions behind the use of multiple screens in their oeuvres. Chapter three analyses these intentions and reasons by relating them to the critical reception of the works in reviews and scholarly writings of art critics and historians. The artists I will discuss are Shirin Neshat, Isaac Julien and Yang Fudong. By investigating the work of three artists who have both made single and multiscreen works, it has become clear that although their individual intentions differ, there appears to be a denominator for in their use of the multiscreen: simultaneity. The work of all three artists appears to confront the fact that there always is a plurality of narratives and that ‘our’ reality consists not of one but of many perspectives. In this sense, Shirin Neshat uses the multiscreen to emphasize her problematic position in between western and middle-eastern culture, Yang Fudong necessarily works with multiple screens to investigate the properties of cinema in relation to reality, while Isaac Julien appropriates the multiscreen to show the flaws of western history and its neglected narratives.