Japan Media Arts Festival  

Art Division

New Face Award

Panderer (Seventeen Seconds)

Video work

Gary SETZER [United States]

© 2016 Gary Setzer.


In this video, the artist directly addresses his audience while a counter displays the passing seconds at an accuracy of 100th of a second. He tells his audience that the average amount of time viewers spend with an artwork in a museum is seventeen seconds, and that this video work embraces that limitation by adhering to that seventeen-second ideal view- ing time. Around 10 seconds into the movie, he explains that everything that needed to be said in this work has been said, and then the movie ends. While video art relies on the dimension of time as a critical component for the delivery of its meaning, this artwork conforms to the unrealistic needs of the “average viewer”─a logical but absurd move that effectively lampoons our impractical expectations of the art experience. 


This video presents a metacognitive performance on the issue of art-viewing, which is extremely relevant for the current times. In the 1990s, art museum-goers seemed to get bored with video art and commentary videos after two minutes, preferring interactive works instead. When we specially featured Michel Gondry at the Music Video: A Vehicle for New Sensitivity exhibition (Tokyo Photographic Art Museum in 2002), I thought, “Ah, a music video brain!” which suddenly made me understand the basis for the “two minutes.” But as we have entered the current century and become accustomed to using social media and online video sites, we may have become viewers with “Insta-brains” who can only sustain attention for “about the duration of skippable advertisements and commercials,” i.e., roughly 17 seconds. (MORIYAMA Tomoe) 

back to top