montreal

Barbara Steinman

Powerhouse Gallery

Video installation has always seemed problematic; the monitor screen is a given, a reference point within an otherwise sculptural object. In Barbara Steinman’s Montreal installation, the real-life connotations of video are treated literally, thereby avoiding the usual uneasy conjunctures caused by narrative flow set inside a static framework. Chambres à Louer (“Rooms for Rent”) consists of two monitors set in real window frames; the frames are placed in an angled wall in such a way that only one monitor can be seen at a time (when viewed from draped chairs placed in the room). The windows have venetian blinds on them, and radiators beneath them. The monitors behind the windows displayed urban or rural scenes: the spectator seemed to be looking out of the window onto a street—into “real” space. The monitor on the left showed a continuous, real-time tape of Park Avenue in New York (where

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