Critical Writing Index

Reversing Time's Arrow in Nam June Paik's Guadalcanal Requiem

by Gabrielle Gopinath

Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 2013, no. 30, pp. 219-231

In 1977, Nam June Paik made Guadalcanal Requiem, a single-channel, experimental documentary video piece, produced and partially funded by the television network TV Lab at WNET/Thirteen. This article addresses the temporal structures of Guadalcanal Requiem. The main focus of the article, in order to stress the thesis of temporality in the piece, is a clip in the middle of the work which is reversed, which appears to reverse the destruction of war and therefore defamiliarize the familiar. The images of the piece are further defamiliarized by Paik's use of his "Paik-Abe- Synthesizer," which works as an image distortion device. Paik's work with time distortion in the piece can be seen as a reflection of depictions of time in 1970s narratives. The author of the article compares Paik's work to that of writers Thomas Pynchon and Kurt Vonnegut, as well as to the work of Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Michael Snow, and Chris Marker.

ITEM 2013.109 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

Guadalcanal RequiemNam June Paik