As Greek myth would have it, cast shadows created the world’s first artwork: the daughter of a famous potter traced the outline of her lover’s shadow on the wall as he departed on a journey, and from these lines her father modeled the first sculpture. In the Renaissance, artists began to employ camera obscuras—optical devices that project images from life onto a surface—as aids for painting in one-point perspective. In more recent decades, projection has moved from the artist’s studio to the gallery space, acting as a prominent display method for video art and light art, as in James Turrell’s installation Aten Reign (2013). Contemporary artists Paul Chan, Bill Viola, Steve McQueen, and Shirin Neshat have all displayed their video footage using projection, favoring the medium for its ability to transform a space into an immersive viewing environment.

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