Pre seminar questions

The first artwork that I chose is Electronic Superhighway by Nam Jun Paik. This is a 51 screen installation in the shape of the USA map.  Nam Jun Paik aims to explore the relation of mass media and how it affects humans. The 51 screen installation plays a different video on each screen. Paik speading up and slowing down the video, purposefully adding interruptions into the clip. This installation includes a jumble of sounds coming from the different video.

I do like this work a lot, and in fact, I think that the sound helps to further strengthen the message that Paik was trying to bring across. In this artwork, piak makes a statement about the huge amount of visual and auditory information we receive from the internet. the jarring jumble of sounds further confuses the viewers as they try to comprehend the imagery shown on the screens. Therefore I love how sound is incorporated into this piece.

The second artwork that I have chosen is Mona Hatoum Measure Of Distance. Measures of Distance is a video work comprising several layered elements. Letters written by Hatoum’s mother in Beirut to her daughter in London appear as Arabic text moving over the screen and are read aloud in English by Hatoum. The background images are slides of Hatoum’s mother in the shower, taken by the artist during a visit to Lebanon. Taped conversations in Arabic between mother and daughter, in which her mother speaks openly about her feelings, her sexuality and her husband’s objections to Hatoum’s intimate observation of her mother’s naked body are intercut with Hatoum’s voice in English reading the letters.

Similarly, I feel that the element of sound further solidifies the artist view of an outsider. The intimate video of her mother bathing is partially hidden by the Arabic script, however, the conversation is translated into English and played in the background. The sense of the viewers as the outsider is thus furthur emphasized as we should not be able to understand this conversation, thus making them the outsiders.

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