Hot Internet TVs on Frozen Winter Days / Hyperallergic

Screengrab from an excerpt of Gretchen Bender’s “Total Recall” (1984), as seen at The Kitchen, New York, in 2013 (via vimeo.com)

Screengrab from an excerpt of Gretchen Bender’s “Total Recall” (1984), as seen at The Kitchen, New York, in 2013 (via vimeo.com)

CHICAGO — Media theorist Marshall McLuhan once said that television is cool and radio is hot. This isn’t a temperature thing, but rather a classification of media based on the participation it involves from viewers — TV watchers can be more detached, whereas radio listeners are completely engaged. In the installations of artists Nam June Paik and Gretchen Bender, though, TV becomes the central, interactive medium. As the temperatures this week hovered in the negatives, I channeled heat by sipping tea and watching TV as video art from my global perch on the internet.

Nam June Paik’s “Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii”(1995) considers the intersection of the American highway system, which used to be powered by automobiles produced in the once-thriving city of Detroit, with the electronic media highway, powered by TV culture. In a towering media installation that measures 15 feet tall by 40 feet wide, Paik creates a map of the United States out of neon lights. TVs of varying sizes are slotted into each of the 50 states, and they loop media images: clips fromThe Wizard of Oz flash over the state of Kansas; Martin Luther King, Jr. speeches play in Alabama; South Carolina is just a bunch of cigarette advertisements. “There’s no place like home,” the images seem to say, as they flash inside an America that projects its identity through and onto screens. Much like McLuhan, Paik also predicted the internet.

Read the full post on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/102268/hot-internet-tvs-on-frozen-winter-days/