Watching the Pot Boil: Artists Who Use Anticipation in Their Work

Anyone remember that scene from The Office where Steve Carell’s Michael Scott gives a presentation beside a very distracting DVD screensaver? Here’s a screen shot from the gag, which you can watch on Hulu. For those at work who can’t view the video, the screensaver is nothing more than a box that changes color as it bounces against the edges of the TV. The staff get very excited by this moving box because everyone wants to see it land squarely in one of the corners. They watch it ravenously, like sports fanatics might follow a game.

As the scene illustrates, anticipation is a powerful means of engaging an audience and a viewer. After the jump, we collect artworks that have done just that.

Olafur Elliason

The contemporary artist who is probably best known for his use of anticipation is Olafur Elliason. Pictured above is a video documenting the artist’s piece, Wall Eclipse, displayed at MoMA in 2008, during Elliason’s retrospective.