Missa of Zen

Nam June Paik and Jud Yalkut
1967, 2:35 min, b&w and color, silent, 16 mm film on video

In Missa of Zen, a TV screen, filmed from an extremely oblique angle, appears as a ghostly, flickering sliver at the side of a darkened frame. The images playing across its surface are rendered abstract by the perspective: we witness the transmission of information, but at a great distance. Isolated in silence and darkness, the television set slips into the realm of the unheimlich — an uncanny object, at once familiar and unfamiliar. Situating mediated America at the crossroads of missa — Latin for the Christian mass — and Zen Buddhism, Paik highlights the connections between mass culture and the transcendental.

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1966-69, 7 min, b&w and color, sound