The current issue of Artforum (March 2016) has published a two-page discussion of Revisions–Zen for Film authored by Jeffrey Weiss, senior curator at the Guggenheim Museum New York and an adjunct professor of fine arts at the New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.
In his enthralling narrative, Weiss asks “What is Zen for Film? If it is primarily said to consist of the projection of transparent leader, do these pieces of film which accumulate traces of use but then, growing brittle, become unprojectable over time-possess aesthetic value as conserved relics? If so, according to what institutional authority is such value ascribed?” He later continues: “As Holling observes, the very transience of the work ‘generates the urge to preserve and collect, which, in turn, expands the accumulating archive.’ Conversely, is preservation anathema to the work’s event status? If so, does the work as event even permit migration to digital media–a mode of presentation seemingly inimical to the work’s intent–or must Zen for Film remain filmic, materially true to its original medium? Given the slow demise of film technology in general, if the work cannot be perpetuated without migration, does it face inevitable death? Further still, do the multiple manifestations of the work implicate a form of “distributed authorship” (quoting Holling citing Boris Groys), in which conservators, curators, and other stakeholders can be said to collaborate with Paik? If so, what role is there for the concept of authenticity? Questions such as these often possess no single answer, yet they remind us that all instantiations of the work are provisional. In this regard, Zen for Film is both object and event; since the two things contradict one another, it is also a paradox. This instability is not secondary to the work’s significance, but-acknowledged or notfundamental. As such, it conditions the work’s history as well as its fate.”
Read the full Artforum review here.