Attention and Distraction: On the Aesthetic Experience of Video Installation Art

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article aims to examine the interrelationship between attention and distraction in the reception of video installation art, a genre which is commonly associated with "immersion" and an intensified feeling of presence in the discourses on new media art and installation art. This tends to veil the fact that the behaviour of many visitors is characterised by a certain restlessness and distraction. The article suggests that, in contradistinction to traditional disciplines of art like painting and sculpture, video installations seem to stimulate a "reception in distraction" (Walter Benjamin) that is at odds with the ideal of a reception in concentration that governs the institutions of fine art as well as aesthetic theory. It intends to demonstrate how the experience of video installation art can only be understood by recognising that the close connections between, on the one hand, video art and, on the other hand, the cultural formations of television, film and computers have fundamentally re-configured "aesthetic experience."

Original languageEnglish
JournalRIHA Journal. Journal of the International Association of Research Institutes in the History of Art
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2010

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - video installation art, distraction, reception, context-awareness, digital media, ubiquitous computing

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 22388819