Props Rock: Nam June Paik

I recently went on a museum excursion to Washington, D.C. where I found myself captivated by an exhibit at the American Art Museum by Nam June Paik. In 2009 the museum acquired the complete estate archive off the Seoul, Korea native. Before his death in 2006 Nam June PaikĀ  revolutionized the art world by transforming the moving image into a new media for artists. His work was categorized as being a part of the Neo-Dada movement which denies tradition by utilizing modern materials and popular imagery. It can be assumed that Paik's training as a classical pianist during his youth inspired much of his work as an adult. Whilst studying at Munich University in Germany, Paik met other artists including composer John Cage and conceptual artist Wolf Vostell who inspired him to work in the field of electronic art. What I appreciate even more than the visual aspects of his art is Paik's insight to the place of technology in society. The man who once proclaimed, "The future is now" has also said, "Our life is half natural and half technological. Half-and-half is good. You cannot deny that high-tech is progress. We need it for jobs. Yet if you make only high-tech, you make war. So we must have a strong human element to keep modesty and natural life." Below is some of his work:
Electronic Superhighway: Continental US (1995). Forty seven channel and closed circuit video installation with 313 monitors, neon, and steel structure; color, sound, approx. 15x32x4 feet.
TV Buddha (1974) Closed Circuit video installation with bronze sculpture
Above: Video Piano (1999) Two channel and closed circuit video installation with piano, bench, fourteen monitors, and video camera, color, sound Below: My Faust (1989-91) Three channel video sculpture with twenty five monitors, color, silent. 104.75x50x31 inches.

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