Craig Buckley: "Remote Control" (catalogue brochure excerpt) London: Forest City Gallery, 2002

Kelly Mark's "Prime Time" (2000) begins from a deceptively simple premise: a video recording two hours of channel surfing during prime time. By re-framing channel surfing as video, the work invests the clickerwith the power of editing. It quickly becomes clear, however, that Mark's channel surfing starts out from a moredeliberate premise than most: channels are scanned in serial order, from 2 to 104 and back again. The pacingis uneven: Xena the warrior princess and Ren and Stimpy garnermore attention, for instance than Emeril'smeringues. Inevitably the remote hurries you on to thenext channel, continuing on its progress through the stations, continuing even into the outer reachesof the cable universe where we know nothing will be on. Thisconceptual rigour stuggles with the familiarity of the pacing, something that seduces yet manages to remain abstract and frustrating at the same time. Suspended in this mixture of the strange and the comfortable, I found myself forgetting that I wasn't the one clicking through the channels. Perhaps the kind of detached, semi-distracted control involved in channelsurfing isn't the kind of thing that really needed much of a subject there anyways. My initial impression, that the artist had controlled the editing of the channels, faded. Here the artist's "contol" is at best a minimal manipulation of a series of ready-made images determined more by the field of mass culture than by the artist. Indeed, Mark's work seems less interested in a sociology of "channel surfing", than with extending her explorations of repetitions and series into the medium of television. It can be seen as a humorous investigation that builds upon and infects the austere serial logic associated with minimalist projects like that of Carl Andre and Robert Ryman. While the deliberate scanning of all 104 channels employs a serialized ready-made (in a way analogous to the factory produced materials of minimalism), the specific juxtapositions remain unpredictable and random in a way that goes beyond minimalist principles. This dynamic was the motivation for exhibiting Mark's work upon a series of identical yet different used monitors at 'Father & Son's Furniture'. By putting this controlled conceptual logic of minimalism to work in the alien fields of used furniture and prime time television, Mark opens it up to far less predictable phenomenology of "presence".

-Craig Buckley, Curator