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  • The Unlimited Performativity of Instruction Art: Space Transformer by Yoko Ono

    Magdalena Holdar

    Chapter from the book: Petersson, S et al. 2018. The Power of the In-Between: Intermediality as a Tool for Aesthetic Analysis and Critical Reflection.


    In 1966 American artist Dick Higgins coined the term intermedia as descriptive of contemporary avant-garde art. Building on a system of medial in-betweenness and artistic overlaps, Higgins aimed to show the interconnections between new artistic practices such as mail art, happenings, and action music. This article attempts to read his theory through an artwork whose concept is contemporary to Higgins’s intermedia theory but also—through its use of new media—to our time. Yoko Ono’s instruction piece Space Transformer consists of three elements: a material artefact; an instruction on how to use the artefact; and the execution of the instruction by the interpreter. The article follows the itinerary between them, concluding that the piece’s intermedia qualities are crucial for its emancipatory aim and outcome.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Holdar, M. 2018. The Unlimited Performativity of Instruction Art: Space Transformer by Yoko Ono. In: Petersson, S et al (eds.), The Power of the In-Between. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/baq.e

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Additional Information

    Published on Sept. 27, 2018


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