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Nam June Paik


Nam June Paik, TV Crown (1965)
Steina and Woody Vasulka, Nam June Paik, 1977 (excerpt) (video)
Steina and Woody Vasulka, Nam June Paik, 1977 (excerpt) (video) Nam June Paik, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (1989) Nam June Paik, Video Cello, 1972
Korean musician and composer, Nam June Paik made his mark as the most prominent video pioneer by creating the first public video screening in October 1965 in New York; Paik played back video images recorded with the first video camera - the portable Portapak camera by Sony. He helped launch video as a new format (video tape and video sculpture) in the art and museum context, and he repeatedly claimed to be the ‘first’ to use video, to electromagnetically dissolve the electronic image (Demagnetizer, 1965), to develop a video synthesizer (Paik-Abe Synthesizer, 1969), and to launch the live satellite transmission of the opening of documenta 6 from Germany in 1977.

The Paik-Abe Synthesizer (technically developed by Shuya Abe) is an instrument that Paik primarily used to decompose television images. He created an electronic collage of manipulated electronic impulses with recorded television material and abstract imagery generated through feedback. The overriding aesthetic principle in Paik’s work is the decomposition and deconstruction of visual materials.

Yvonne Spielmann © 2005 FDL