Week 11 Viewer Post

Global Groove:

“This is a glimpse of the video landscape of tomorrow, when you will be able to switch to any TV station on the earth, and TV guide will be as fat as the Manhattan telephone book.”

What follows this sentence is a video of woman dancing dressed in fashion of the time the film came out. The image has been altered with electronic methods I am not familiar with.

What follows the dancing are television clips or other videos with celebrities in them. I believe this urges us to reflect on the presence of media in our lives (of course, when this film came out it was still in the 70s in last century). I am not an expert on the female music performer, but I do connect Allen Ginsberg with the hippie movement that is in its prosperity then, and his relationship with the Beat Generation. When audiences watch this video now, this information might not be immediate to people who are not acquainted with this culture, but at the time, it should be obvious. I assume it is the same reason why John Cage appears in the film as well — public figures on media platforms, delivered by the medium of a video.

       I have some reflection on the film’s name: Global Groove. “Groove” is a term specifically associated with African American music, but the adjective “global” is added before it. It might indicate the period in which the film is made is a time of globalization. To state that, there are clips of performances derived from different cultures juxtaposed together. The video itself is also a manifestation of how technology connects people of different races, from different places, and with different believes, together.

       Anyways, the whole film is a mashup of all sorts of videos. I guess that is also one of the reasons it is called “video art”.

Above are unfortunately all I can interpret from this film.

Questions I have:

1, The clips selected must have some significance. Two are music performers, one is a literature representative. They all appear in the same film. What does that mean?

2, What is the relationship of this film with commercials?

One Reply to “Week 11 Viewer Post”

  1. Vico Wang

    Viewing the Global Groove (Nam June Paik, 1973) was an intriguing experience. In his essays, Paik documented a wide range of novel electronic techniques, including the transformation of images from positive to negative, the distortion of pictures through the use of demagnetizers, and the application of electro-guns to simultaneously display three colors on the screen, and indeed we saw the application of these techniques in Global Groove right from the beginning as the film begins with the tap dance clip in which the screen is filled with a dazzling array of visual elements (Paik, para 4).

    I have a different interpretation for the subsequent clips with celebrities. Considering the context in which the film was produced and Paik’s deliberate choice of the opening line, I think that these clips symbolize the vitality and more importantly, the potential for globalization of the video art vision envisioned by Paik. At the same time, I find the clip featuring Charlotte Moorman performing her “television cello” to be both absurd and intriguing. From my perspective, it can be even seem as a prototype for videos from today’s social media platforms.

    To answer your first question, I don’t think the significance lies in the content of the clips. Paik mentioned in his essay that “the core of the beauty of nature is, that, the limitless quantity of nature disarmed the category of quality, which is used unconsciously mixed and confused with double meanings…In my experimental TV, the words ‘QUALITY’ means only the character, but not the VALUE” (Paik, para 1). I would rather consider the accumulation of clips simply as his exploration of various techniques and a visual representation of the concept of globalization.

    While I can’t fully answer your question regarding the relationship between this piece and commercials, it is worth noting that Paik did incorporate a Coke commercial within it. My personal interpretation for this inclusion is that it underscores the significance of commercials as a defining element of television programming which sets it apart from other forms of media,, following our discussion on commercials this Tuesday.


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