Amsterdam

“The Luminous Image”

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

I don’t know whether the thinking of Marshall McLuhan is still discussed much abroad—his analysis of hot and cold media, for example—but I remembered him in connection with this show. Whatever one thought about the media in the early ’60s, when McLuhan’s ideas were emerging, at least he offered a position, making possible a warm-blooded exchange of views. As I wandered among the video installations that formed the heart of “The Luminous Image,” and, later, sought in the catalogue for some kind of theoretical stance, I was saddened. Was there any theoretical justification for this arrangement of heterogeneous video installations? Was there any starting point from which to orient one’s impressions and experiences? If a point of reference was to be found among these disparate works, it was what I might call the “Flintstone Principle,” the overwhelming bricolages of incongruous objects that

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