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David Hall
The Situation Envisaged (1978), A Situation Envisaged : The Rite (1980) and A Situation Envisaged: The Rite II (Cultural Eclipse) (1988/90) all work very much in time, even though they present us at first with a monolithic sculptural presence of almost totalitarian proportions.

Yet the remnants of signification that stream from behind the black quarter-circle plinth in the earliest version, out of the henge-like circle of the second, and the black pillar in the third not only float with the penumbral ephemerality of the aurora; they leave their own inscriptions, but this time stripped away from the corporeality that earlier works still registered. Now this inscription too fades away, but leaves an enhanced sense of what is possible, what else can be done. The work exists only for its spectator, as a theatrical moment, to the extent that it is a situation in which the art is not somehow inside the artwork, but exists in the domain between the work and the beholder, never entirely the property of either.

This is not to say the work is interactive - it isn't - or even merely open to interpretation, - which every artwork is. In his essay Fried criticised any work of art that did not contain in itself the reasons why it is so and not otherwise, whose reasons, indeed, subsisted to some extent outside itself, in the way it manifested in space and especially in time. Just as the Television Interruptions of 1971 and 1993 required television as the place in which they were installed, and the television receiver as the place where they were witnessed, so the Situation Envisaged series demand their place and time. A photograph, even a video of the installations are merely documents, and to that extent perhaps instantaneous: the works themselves are interruptions of empty homogenous time, empty homogenous space, interruptions in the time of viewing, art as interruptions of art.

While some early video work - that associated with the journal Radical Software for example - was anti-television, Hall was part of a longer and deeper involvement with broadcast, to which The Situation Envisaged, A Situation Envisaged: The Rite and the later work A Situation Envisaged: The Rite II (Cultural Eclipse) (1988-90) belong. This practice of involving the viewer in acts and moments - situations - runs through the interactions of Vidicon Inscriptions and Progressive Recession, in which CCTV cameras directed viewers not to the screen in front of them but to another displaced, from which they would be referred to another and another. To return to Fried, the purpose of such actions is not to engage the viewer in contemplation of a closed object whose meaning and sensation are already completed within the work. On the contrary, it is to suggest that there are other situations inside or alongside television where television can be otherwise - and that to travel there is more exciting for the audience because each individual work is only ever the beginning of another vector away from broadcast.

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