Nam June Paik’s Boredom: Input-time and Output-time

by Christian Parreno

Much confusion about today’s video art comes from the lack of categories to distinguish “good and boring art” from “bad and boring art.”

Boredom itself is far from being a negative quality. It is rather a sign of aristocracy in Asia. And again this confusion stems from the confusion about INPUT-time and OUTPUT-time.

In the overzealousness to counter the CBS-type entertainment, or in order to preserve the purity of information or experience, some video artists refuse to edit or change the time-structure of performances or happenstance. In other words, they insist that INPUT-time and OUTPUT-time be equal. However in our real life – say, live life – the relationship of input-time and output-time is much more complex – e.g., in some extreme situations or in dreams our whole life can be experienced as a flashback compressed into a split second (the survivors from air crashes or ski accidents tell of it often) … or, as in the example of Proust, he can brood over a brief childhood experience practically all of one’s life in the isolation of a cork-lined room. That means, certain input-time can be extended or compressed in output-time at will … and this metamorphosis (not only in quantity, but also in quality) is the very function of our brain which is, in computer terms, the central processing unit itself. The painstaking process of editing is nothing but the simulation of this brain function.

Paik, Nam June (1976) Input-time and Output-time.