Video installation is the conjunction of opposites (or, to put it another way: video installation is like having your cake and eating it, too). On the one hand, “installation” places an art-work in a specific site, for a specific time ( a specific duration and also, possibly a specific historic time). On the other hand, “video” (with its consequences followed through: video broadcast on television) is placeless: at least, its place can’t be determined — there’s no way of knowing the particular look of all those millions of homes that receive the TV broadcast.
Video installation, then, places placelessness; video installation is an attempt to stop time. The urge toward video installation might be nostalgic: it takes airplane travel, where all you can see is sky, and imposes onto it the landscape incidences of a railroad journey. Video installation returns the TV set to the domain of furniture; the TV set, in the gallery/museum, is surrounded by the sculptural apparatus of the installation, the way the TV set, in the home, is surrounded by the furnishings of the room. The difference is: in the home, the TV set is assumed as a home-companion, almost unnoticed, a household pet that can’t be handled and kicked around; the viewer doesn’t have to keep his/her eyes focused on the TV screen, the TV set remains on while the viewer (the home-body) comes and goes, the viewer goes to get something in the kitchen and brings it back to the TV set. Once a TV set, however, is placed in a sculpture-installation, the TV set tends to dominate; the TV set acts as a target — the rest of the installation functions as a display-device, a support-structure for the light on the screen (the viewer stares into the television set, as if staring into a fireplace).