Ekmel Ertan

Tribute to Buddha

Abstract: This installation consists of two television sets facing each other. In one of the televisions, we see a man is sitting cross- legged on the floor and watching the other television while continuously zapping. This is a video fed by a computer connected to the television. The other television is receiving the current broadcast and changing channels while the man on the opposite television is zapping.


In this installation, I am interested in the notions of reality, image and interaction through the media. I like to force the viewer to ask questions on the real, the reality of the image and the interaction in today’s meditated world.

Background: This installation interrogates the relation between the reality, the media and the viewer through the shift in time and space. Two televisions that are looking at each other are in a meaningless relationship. This meaningless relationship is not much different then similar situations in our daily life. The image of the man in the television suggests that the media transforms its viewer and imprisons him in its own virtual domain. Although the fact that the man can still control the other television might prompt us to question the supposition of imprisonment, this is a meaningless interaction in which two devices are performing a human action through the representation of a human. The representation of the viewer as an image or an image as the viewer inspires questions on the image of the broadcast on the other television.

A shift in the time, again, questions the reality of the media. The man on the air is an image like its viewer and the exhibition time is not his real time as its viewer’s. This situation points the assumptions about the real in the virtual domain of the media.

This installation:

  • Questions the relation between the real and the virtual/image.
  • The image of the reality (the zapping man) and the reality of the image (the phenomenon of TV.) come face to face.
  • With the time shift, the man’s action of watching and zapping in his real time is replaced with the broadcast in the time of the exhibition/installation.
  • Through the interaction a man intervenes into installation time with his action in his real time.
  • Questions media in its own nature with adding a new layer of meaning in the interaction between two devices through the representation of the image.
  • Cheat in time
  • The position of the audience
  • The realness of the interaction
  • Interaction through image
  • The power of the visual
  • The integration of the media and the viewer
  • Two televisions looking each other
  • Situation of the parties: watching and being watched
  • The transformation of the viewer

All above thoughts can be considered as extended versions of J.N. Paik’s Buddha. This installation refers to Paik’s work with the placement in space and the questions inspired by it.