Suite 212

At one point in the middle of this work, the ubiquitous newscaster and presenter Russell Connor who narrates the piece states that: 'Suite 212 is the personal New York sketchbook of pioneer video artist Nam June Paik, each work is an electronic collage of some aspect of the city, observed with a vision that is international, individual and generally indescribable.

A jaunt through the city of New York, Paik's adopted American home intersected by comical moments of caricature-like icons of internationalism (mostly through dancing ladies or sexy Japanese advertisements) the piece presents quite a strong set of ideas. Paik plays with television footage of Marshall McLuhan, the media thinker who gave us terms such as 'the media is the message'. McLuhan provided Paik with a reference and a point of departure. Paik believed that it was no good simply talking about the media through written or spoken word, you had to engage with the new forms of production directly. Including street interviews with Douglas Davis' neighbours, Jud Yalkut's rendering of a Chinatown noodle shop and a colorized walk along the bridge to Ward's Island. Paik and Shigeko Kubota's tour of the Lower East Side with Allen Ginsberg highlights a creative community of practitioners living and working inside the nexus of the post-industrial mediated world.

A homage as well as a critique of the economics of New York, this work points out both the opportunities and repressive forces at work in the city. The New York police force, states the narrator, is now as large as the Danish army. Another set of ideas explored in this work is the issue of the closed-system nature of tv: a woman watches TV in the bath while shouting at the screen; another woman in a hairdressers screams for the television to be switched off as she can't bear it; a man enters a seedy peep-show only to find that the same screen played throughout the piece confronts him. In this work, the television has become the deliverer of pleasure and pain, opportunity and control. Paik's mode of telling this story takes the view on a hallucinatory journey where you may not be sure quite what you saw but you'll remember something.

Director: Merrily Mossman. Host: Russell Connor. Supervising Engineer/Videotape Editor: John J. Godfrey. Staff Engineer: Philip F. Falcon, Jr. Production Manager: Darlene Mastro.

(Includes The Selling of New York by Nam June Paik, directed by Merrily Mossman)

Produced by the TV Lab at WNET/Thirteen, New York

Single-channel videotape, colour, sound, 30 minutes 23 seconds
Host: Russell Connor. In collaboration with Douglas Davis, Shigeko Kubota and Jud Yakult