Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathNarration
Sonata (Weinbren, Grahame), 1991Talo (Das Haus) (Ahtila, Eija-Liisa), 2002

icon: previous page

out somewhat differently than before, creating fundamental doubts as to what one has actually witnessed. In «Win, Place or Show» Douglas employs the narrative strategies of the television drama, awakening in us the expectation that we have been witnesses of a TV drama, only to dash this expectation to the ground again, because we are unable at any point in time to identify with the story as we are used to doing. Again and again, we become aware of our uncertain standpoint as observers. Stan Douglas wonders how representation is still possible today at all. He knows that whatever must be said can only be said through a complex system of references. This is why he tries to create meanings that are to some extent autonomous and have no clear reference point in reality. As a consequence, his stories can only begin to be read. They shift between historical authenticity and fiction, between readability and the targeted concealment of any kind of rhyme and reason. They demand of the viewer a high degree of competence in deciphering imagery and an active mentality.


Paradoxical narrative structures

In addition to the elevation of the perspective/s of the viewer, or more precisely, of the perceptual conditions to an essential theme of the work, time is another important means used in the media art of the 1980s and 1990s to deconstruct narratives. In a single setting two or more time levels are folded together. This is paradigmatic not only for the works of Stan Douglas, but also for those of Grahame Weinbren (especially «Sonata») and Eija-Liisa Ahtila. Ahtila's works are characterized by paradoxical narrative structures. Repeatedly, events occur that cannot be placed in the sequentiality of the story and that do not seem to fit anywhere within the chronological order of what has been related. In the video installation «The House» (2002), the viewer jumps from one event to the next, which, with the exception of the introductory sequence, take place either inside a small house or in the thoughts of the protagonist. The protagonist begins to hear noises, but it is never clear whether these sounds are only within her own thoughts or in

icon: next page