Sound is given due attention, along with the shift from analogue to digital, issues of spectatorship, and the insights of cognitive science. Woven into this genealogy is a discussion of the procedural, political, theoretical, and ideological positions espoused by artists from the mid-twentieth century to the present. Historical constructs such as Peter Gidal's structural materialism, Maya Deren's notion of vertical and horizontal time, and identity politics are reconsidered in a contemporary context and intersect with more recent thinking on representation, subjectivity, and installation art.
The book is written by a critic, curator, and practitioner who was a pioneer of British video and feminist art politics in the late 1970s. Elwes writes engagingly of her encounters with works by Anthony McCall, Gillian Wearing, David Hall, and Janet Cardiff, and her narrative is informed by exchanges with other practitioners. While the book addresses the key formal, theoretical, and historical parameters of moving-image installation, it ends with a question: "What's in it for the artist?"