The Last Nine Minutes

The Last Nine Minutes by artist, theoretician, critic, teacher, and writer Douglas Davis was part of a 30-minute live satellite program by Davis, Nam June Paik, and Joseph Beuys, transmitted from Documenta 6 to over twenty-five countries. While Paik and Beuys were performing live in Kassel, Davis performed his participatory TV action in Caracas, Venezuela, addressing the time/space distance between himself and the television audience. His goal: to localize a viewer in nine minutes. He is seen pacing in an unspecified room, wearing a loudly ticking clock around his neck, and after a while he asks viewers to place their hands on the TV screen. Two hands appear on “our” side of the screen to indicate the viewing person, and finally Davis is able to locate her. The screen acts as the fourth wall that Davis is attempting to break down both literally by exerting force (he bangs his hands against the glass, tries to cut it with a knife, throws himself against it), as well as metaphorically by trying to get in contact with his audience using the interface of the screen, in order to transcend the barrier between artist and viewer.