Nam June Paik

Nam June Paik was an artist who was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1932. He originally studied music and was exposed to the musical avant garde, but went on to explore more than music and participated in the Fluxus movement. His work quickly moved into the realm of video art, and his focus in much of his work involved communications, media, and electronic interconnectivity. Many consider him to be one of the founders of the video art movement.

I like Nam June Paik, having had a chance to see some of his pieces at galleries in D.C. They are usually big, confrontational, and hard to avoid when walking through a museum. I can understand why his work is divisive, since it’s so hard to ignore, but I like how bold he is in presenting his ideas.

Video Flag is a good example of this, it’s brash and confrontational and the flickering images shown make very clear that this is the United States at this time, entirely interconnected by television.

On a similar theme, Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, is a literal representation of the United States, again, combined with vivid lights and looping media.

The idea of obsession with media, and the way it has permeated all rungs of society is probably best represented in TV Buddha, another really famous piece that very clearly focuses on themes of self obsession, media in all aspects of our lives, and even imperfection in what we perceive as perfect. I’m a big fan of this piece because it makes me laugh, so I feel that it’s super effective.