Nam June Paik's first experiments with television in the 1960s and 1970s amounted to a direct assault on the TV set itself: in one piece he warped the picture with a magnet; in another he gutted a TV casing, replacing the picture tube with a candle. Paik's target has since shifted from the TV set to TV time. In his recent video sculptures Passage (1986) and Megatron (1995), constantly changing sequences of images fleet across TV screens. In this way, the works reflect the increasingly choppy editing of mainstream television, on which news spots lasting a matter of seconds outnumber in-depth, feature-length reports. By appropriating and accelerating the "microtime" of MTV and commercial breaks, Paik pushes this implosion of time to its logical conclusion, creating an array of images dazzling enough to compete with TV. Yet despite the frenetic pace of the images, the effect can be surprisingly meditative.
- Jon Ippolito, Exhibition Coordinator