Nam June Paik Pt 6-Something Pacific 1986

Paik's Something Pacific for the Stuart Collection was his first permanent outdoor installation. This work relates specifically to its site, which includes the lobby of the university's Media Center as well as the lawns surrounding the building. Outdoors, the work features several ruined televisions embedded in the landscape; some are paired with Buddhas, and one, a tiny Sony Watchman, is topped by a miniature reproduction of Rodin's Thinker. In striking contrast to this video graveyard, the lobby of the Media Center houses one of Paik's lively interactive banks of TV monitors. By means of a control panel, viewers are able to manipulate sequences of Paik's own tapes and broadcast MTV. Like much of Paik's art, Something Pacific's outdoor and indoor sections use the video medium to contrast two very different experiences of time -- one involving extended contemplation and the other instantaneous reaction. More importantly, the scattered ruins of televisions offer a cautionary tale for those entering the Media Center. Paik places televisions in the landscape in order to dramatize his belief that television has defined the American landscape since World War II. The outdoor TVs are all "dead" sets, skeletal remains that Paik has returned to nature, perhaps to be discovered in future archeological digs.

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