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Global Groove 2004

Global Groove 2004
Nam June Paik: Videa 'n' Videology 1959-1973
Global Groove 2004. — Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, 2004. — n. p., accompanied by a reprint of Videa 'n' Videology: Nam June Paik: 1959-1973, edited by Judson Rosebush, Syracuse: Everson Museum of Art, 1974. — 88 p. 

Catalogue published for the exhibition Global Groove 2004, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, N. Y., United States, April 17-July 9, 2004. — Curators: John G. Hanhardt and Caitlin Jones.

This exhibition presented a new work by Nam June Paik, Global Groove 2004, a video installation based in part on the artist’s single-channel videotape Global Groove, (1) produced in 1973 by Channel Thirteen in New York. The original work summarizes the research Paik conducted during the 1960s on the electronic image. In the work, the artist offers a multifaceted visual environment, which, within a single conduit, integrates and overlaps a host of diverse elements: interview segments with artists of the day, excerpts from rock concerts, and fragments from television shows. Paik created signal processing tools to modulate the work’s content and produce a range of effects. The work is much more than an exploratory artistic venture; it seeks to unite popular culture and the New York avant garde scene of the 1970s, while underscoring the media’s omnipresence in society during this period. Global Groove 2004 links the 1973 components through video wall clusters and encircles them with elements from Paik’s videographic compilation (such as his One Candle Projection from 1988).

Titled after the recent exhibition, the publication combines an anthology of texts on the Guggenheim show with a reprint of the exhibition catalogue for Videa 'n' Videology: Nam June Paik: 1959-1973, presented in 1974 at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York.

In making this editorial choice, curators Caitlin Jones and John Hanhardt juxtapose two documented accounts of an artistic practice that has been deployed over many decades. While the first document presents a history of what has come to be regarded as a ground-breaking practice, the Videa ‘n’ Videology catalogue recounts what made it so innovative at the time. The contributors to the contemporary edition emphasize the influence the 1973 videotape has had on Paik’s philosophical and practical approach to his art.

In Paik for TV, Hanhardt paraphrases the artist’s comments. For Paik, the original Global Groove represented the emerging sophisticated communication modes that are today so common. Hanhardt reports that in the 1960s, access to televisual production methods seemed to signify a breaking down of artistic barriers for Paik. Taking a somewhat biographical track, Hanhardt analyzes a few of Paik’s videotapes, but also focuses on his telematics performances. In addition, the author underscores how important collaboration is to Paik. Indeed, since he began his career, the artist has surrounded himself with colleagues from numerous disciplines to continuously bring up to date his artistic approaches. Hanhardt draws a parallel between current artists who use the Internet as a communications vehicle and Paik’s use of video to create a global media technology environment.

In Escape from Videoland, Caitlin Jones comments on Paik’s essay Global Groove and the Video Common Market, written in 1971. In it, Paik introduces his Videoland project, a platform for exchange promoting unfettered access to video without the hindrance of television broadcasters. Jones suggests that the fragmentation of the Global Groove videotape constitutes a sort of visual extension of this manifesto. She maintains that the prophetic statements made by Paik in Videoland were forerunners of today’s open source Internet code practices and free access to on-line content. However, she cautions that Paik’s utopian views and those of today’s generation are mitigated by the ever-increasing limitations posed on artists by intellectual property laws.

In Global Groove Shot Analysis, Anja Osswald offers a detailed dissection of the 1973 videotape. Her grid itemizes each sequence and provides a breakdown of the work’s running time and highlights the types of effects produced (and the filters used to process the video images), the musical passages featured, the texts read, the work’s intertitles and the length of each "shot."

The reprint of Videa ‘n’ Videology that accompanies the Guggenheim exhibition catalogue brings together texts written by Paik, articles on his work originally published in various periodicals, invitations, programs, technical drawings, and other content. This anthology of fragmented texts bears witness to Paik’s commentary on television and video that emerged in his work between 1962 and 1973. The documents and images are presented in no particular order, thus rendering any chronological or linear perusal of the work impossible (and instead emulating the diverse methods used by Paik in his videographic productions). This fragmentation is further reinforced through the appearance of multiple entries by Paik that offer the reader background information on the writing of the text or details about its initial publication in a given periodical, exhibition catalogue or program.

The publication provides access to a number of texts written by the artist during the period that extended from his Neo-Dada and Fluxus-related experiences to his advanced work with electronic imagery in the early 1970s. In his 1967 article Norbert Wiener and Marshall McLuhan, Paik outlines the similarities between the two media thinkers, while emphasizing how they differed in their theoretical approaches. He then proposes a number of concepts linking art and cybernetics on a philosophical level. In his 1968 essay Expanded Education for the Paperless Society, Paik sings the praises of television and video as educational tools, while admonishing academic institutions such as universities for not availing themselves of the new world of electronic media. The publication also includes reprints of texts by collaborators such as Douglas Davis and Jud Yalkut on Paik’s practices during this era.

Vincent Bonin © 2004 FDL

(1) Paik often produces new works using content that already exists. While the content of the 1973 videotape is revived in Global Grove 2004, the author views his new offering as an independent work. The 1973 single-channel Global Groove videotape is available for viewing at the CR+D.