The White, Black, and Gray Cubes: A Trajectory of Display Technologies in Contemporary Art

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review


Since the late 1960s, when the first generation of video artists began to use TV sets, display technologies have been regarded as the “canvas” of video artists. Since then, display technologies have had a huge impact on the ways not only of presenting artworks, but also of producing, appreciating, marketing, collecting, and preserving them. As state-of-the-art screening technologies have emerged and affected artistic creation and presentation, it has become necessary to reconsider display technologies in the context of contemporary art from a more appropriate perspective based on the philosophy of technology. Marc de Vries’ taxonomy of function allows us to comprehend numerous functions of technological artifacts, and Don Ihde’s classification provides a useful framework to analyze the human-technology relations, which is mainly concerned with the systematic reflection of the structures of experience and consciousness. Through their theories of technological artifacts, this paper examines the trajectory of display technologies in 20th- and 21st-century art with special attention to the development and adoption of key display artifacts: the television receiver, LCD monitor, and video projector. By shedding new light on the correlation between display technologies and aesthetic achievements, this paper analyzes how certain types of display technologies have critical impacts both on artistic language, the experience of audiences, and the form of art exhibition through examples of the works of Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, Tony Oursler, etc.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
EventThe 3rd International Symposium of Art and Technology: Collision, Collaboration and the Future of Artsci - National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: 14 Nov 201617 Nov 2016


SymposiumThe 3rd International Symposium of Art and Technology
Abbreviated titleISAT 2016
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China

User-Defined Keywords

  • Display technology
  • Contemporary art
  • New media art
  • Phenomenology
  • Marc de Vries
  • Don Ihde
  • White cube
  • Black cube
  • Grey cube


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