Tag Archives: paik



“A photograph showing him as a child in Korean dress with his father is juxtaposed to photographs of the glamorous Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, like Paik born
on July 20, of the German resistance fighter Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, executed on July 20, 1944, and a fourth illustration documenting the American landing on the moon on July 20, 1969 (Neil Armstrong: “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind”). Four pseudo-mathematical equations with question marks (for example ?+? = ??) are placed as ironic, enigmatic commentaries to these historically significant photographs.”

– Susanne Rennert, On Nam June Paiks Works in the Peter Wenzel Collection

The enigmatic mathematical symbols used for the main logo image of Nam June Paik Art Center are derived from the numerical expression that Paik used in an article for the magazine De/collage No.3 in 1963 and re-used commemorating his 54th birthday. They represent Paik’s rich imagination and unique sense of humor. The logo image shows that when a question is reversed and transformed into a new question, endless transformations and recurrences take place: it incorporates the identity of Nam June Paik Art Center aiming to be an experimental space that doesn’t cease to question established answers.

– Museum Identity – http://www.njpartcenter.kr/en/about/mission.asp

Paik nam june 1932 2006 korea july 20



quotes readings

Nam June Paik April 1998

Seoul – NY Mar 1-3

Norbert Wiener, a the major contributor to the invention of RADAR and computer in general, once distinguished about Two kinds of TIME:
1) Bergsonian Time, which is like a living organism: unrepeatable, self-progressing Time
2) Newtonian Time, repeatable Time like a machine

The electronic music of 1969 was in the Newtonian Time (single channel audio tape) people were bored, including the composer himself. KH Stockhausen wrote a live part for David Tudor and Ch. Caskel (percussion). The great flutist Gazzeloni also appeared in Darmstadt.

There, virtuoso players were playing mainly playing 5 line-notation based Atonal MUSIC. However John Cage (not the youngest but the most radical one) decided to produce sounds electronically. Soon David Tudor devoted himself to the study of electronical circuits and he surprised everyone, including himself. Soon DAVID TUDOR invented and self-soldered hundreds of electronic circuits. We nicknamed Tudor’s lunchbox, but for outsiders they looked like a part of TIME Bomb with these „subversive“ objects. Cage Tudor traversed 100 national borders.

Richard Teitelbaum Tcherepnin brothers were among the early pioneers of live electronic music.
videotaped video of 15 like the

Soon David Behrman, Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma, George* Ashley [Robert Ashley] made the SONIC Union and Moog and Buchla invented the key-board based electronic machine. They were born from the classical avantgarde Music but soon conquered the great pop field. From here to PC’s sampling was only a cat’s spring.

Can this history be repeated in the video? let’s hope the best. I will compose the live part to the my repertoire of classic,
such as Cage, Ginsberg, Beuys, Beck, Moorman.

I decided to live until 2012 so that I can do the Cage Centennial myself. Shigeko has Breg Bremen Cage (1972) tape.

– Nam June Paik April, 1998

Paik Katalog 210mmx270mm  1  dragged 1


Stockhausen’s Originale




[Source: http://andel.home.mindspring.com/stockhausen_notes.htm]

In 1961, at age 33, Karlheinz Stockhausen was already among the most well-known of living composers, though not yet the guru figure of Beatles tributes and electronica lore. He had just finished composing Kontakte, a piece for electronic four-channel tape and piano/percussion duo, in which he attempted a high degree of interaction between live performers and taped sounds, as well a new degree of theatricality in the onstage movements of the musicians. He received a commission for a “theatrical” work from a theater producer in Cologne, and Originale (Originals) was scripted rapidly during a visit to Finland in July of 1961.

The composer Jonathan Harvey, in his book The Music of Stockhausen, describes the form of Originale:

“It consists of eighteen scenes in the form of instructions for the dramatis personae carefully placed in timeboxes. Each character’s actions, in other words, must take a specified number of seconds or minutes [hence the frequent appearances of the clock in Peter Moore’s film]. These scenes are grouped into seven ‘structures’ which may be performed successively as ‘normal’, or simultaneously (up to three at once), or both.”

The idea was to organize spoken language and stage actions in much the same way as musical materials had been organized in Stockhausen’s previous pieces.

The stage actions consisted largely of normal activities undertaken by actors who were basically playing themselves: a poet played himself as “the poet,” reading poetry on stage; a “painter” paints; a “film man” and “lighting man” and “models” go about their normal business, all within their allotted times (hence the title of the piece: “originals” playing themselves). A visual and aural complexity was created by the juxtaposition of these simultaneously occurring activities, creating an aura of absurdity which contrasted with the normality of the events themselves. In addition, some of the performers, such as the explosive performance artist Nam June Paik, went the opposite direction, performing bizarre actions within their roles. And certain elements of the set, such as goldfish swimming in a bowl hanging from the ceiling, contributed to this contrast between the mundane and the absurd.

Stockhausen added another layer of irony to the title by basing Originale on his previous work, Kontakte, rather than composing new music for the piece. So, at the beginning ofOriginale, we see a pianist and a percussionist (playing themselves, of course) performing Kontakte. However, there is a film camera and a tape recorder present, as well as a stage manager shouting instructions over the music. After a few minutes, the players stop and the tape of their performance is heard, along with the recorded shouts of the stage manager. Thus we see a pianist and percussionist, recording and filming themselves playing a composition which itself contains prerecorded sounds – performances within performances, by “originals” playing themselves.

The premiere of the work in Cologne in autumn 1961 was a success for the participants and a scandal for the organizers, who pulled funding two days into the twelve-day run, forcing composer and company to take financial responsibility for the rest of the run.

ORIGINALE: The New York Performance

In summer 1964, Charlotte Moorman, cellist and tireless promoter of cutting-edge art, was putting together her 2nd Annual New York Avant Garde Festival. Both Moorman and artist Allan Kaprow, who was well-known as the originator of the term “happening,” had been in touch with Stockhausen about Originale. According to Barbara Moore, the producer of tonight’s film, Stockhausen gave his approval for a New York performance on one condition – the piece could not be performed without Nam June Paik. Moorman had never heard of Paik, but as it happened, the Korean-born performer and video artist had just arrived in New York and coincidentally was about to contact her. (This initial contact was the start of a long artistic partnership between the two.)

Born in 1932, Paik studied as a composer but also made assemblages and performance pieces, including his infamous One For Violin Solo, which consisted of slowly raising a violin over his head with intense concentration, then suddenly bringing it down on the table in front of him, smashing it to pieces. His reputation as a ferocious and charismatic performer preceded him to New York, and his presence dominates the middle section of Peter Moore’s film. Paik is listed in the cast as “action music,” and performed three of his own pieces during Originale – including Simple (1961), in which he covers himself with shaving cream, flour, and rice, and climbs into a tub to wash off, then drinks the water out of his own shoe.

Barbara Moore recalls that aside from the casting of Paik, Stockhausen entrusted the New York performance entirely to the organizers. Kaprow directed the piece and assembled and rehearsed the cast, which was drawn from the close circle of avant-garde artists in New York.

The venue was Judson Hall, across from Carnegie Hall at 165 W 57th St. Not to be confused with Judson Memorial Church – which actually was a noted avant-garde venue – Judson Hall was used mainly for traditional classical recitals. An onstage scaffolding was constructed, and the New York run of Originale began on September 8, 1964 (with composer Edgard Varese among the audience members). With the exception of September 10, it was performed every night through the 13th. (A full week of concerts and events organized by Moorman had preceded the five-night run of Originale.)

The performance seems to have been well-received for the most part, though there was inevitable bemusement and unpredictable reactions among some of the audience members. For instance, catcalls can be heard on the film as the models undress. And in his book The Art of Time, Michael Kirby, who was a cast member, recalled that at one performance Paik was suddenly handcuffed to the scaffolding by a well-coordinated group of audience members who then disappeared. Everyone thought it was part of the show until Paik called “feebly but only half-intelligibly about his inability to get to the piano.” For his part, Paik varied his performance each night, as he had done in Cologne, throwing curve balls to the cast and audience.

Adding to the general unpredictability was the concurrent protest undertaken outside the concert hall by a number of New York artists, including Henry Flynt, Tony Conrad, and George Maciunas, who collectively denounced Stockhausen as a “cultural imperialist.” (Maciunas, the leader of the Fluxus art group, also considered Moorman something of a rival within the New York art world, though other Fluxus members were performing in the show.)


16mm, black and white, sound, 32 minutes, 1964-93

Peter Moore (1932-1993) was a distinguished photojournalist who beginning in 1962 documented many of the most well-known avant-garde art events in New York. He was commissioned by theater producer Rhett Brown, wife of artist Robert Delford Brown (who appeared as the painter in Originale) to produce a film of the event. Shooting in 16mm and using available light, Moore documented two nights of the run, and took still photos at the remaining shows. The film’s subtitle, Doubletakes, reflects the fact that the film was shot during two successive evenings, so different views of the onstage events are seen in the film.

Art historian and Moore’s wife Barbara, who was present, recalls that the camera used to shoot Doubletakes was borrowed from the filmmaker and video artist Ed Emshwiller. Talking from New York in a recent phone conversation, Ms. Moore also noted that the onscreen presence of Brown as the painter indicates that Peter Moore shot the film during the early nights of the run, since Brown was soon kicked out of the performance after a disagreement with Kaprow about his approach to the role.

The footage was stored away until 1993, when Peter Moore began preparations for editing. After Moore’s sudden death that year, Barbara Moore took over producing the film, drawing on extensive conversations she had had with her husband about his intentions for the film. The footage was edited by Susan Brockman.

The soundtrack for the film consists of what is known as “wild sound” – that is, the sound is mostly independent of the images. However, the sounds you do hear are always being made by the performers you see at that moment on the screen. The result is a skillful distillation of the original 94-minute work into a 32-minute film. Doubletakes is also an invaluable document of a particularly fertile moment in the New York avant-garde and, since Originale has been withdrawn from public performance by the composer, it also represents a rare glimpse of this unique work in Stockhausen’s output.


Director – Allan Kaprow
Assembled and rehearsed the cast and directed the show. He is the bearded man seen near the end of the film reading from a book and then holding large clumps of straw.

Pianist – James Tenney
A pioneer composer of electronic music as well as a performer of Stockhausen’s and others’ music. Seen here performing Kontakte.

Percussionist – Max Neuhaus
Perfomer of Cage, Stockhausen, Feldman and many other composers, and later a creator of his own sound art works. Seen here performing Kontakte with Tenney. The duo began the evening in formal concert dress, but had several costume changes including states of undress as seen later in the film. (The feral costume worn by Tenney was created by artist Carolee Schneemann.)

Film Man – Robert Breer
Noted avant-garde filmmaker and animator. His film “Fist Fight,” which according to Barbara Moore consists of baby pictures of the cast interspersed with animation, is seen playing during the performance.

Action music – Nam June Paik

Child – Anton Kaprow
The child plays with boxes to the side of stage, and also, in Stockhausen scholar Robin Maconie’s phrase, “acts as a silent observer of what the adults are up to.”

Models – Olga Adorno and Lette Eisenhauer
Both women were performers in early 60s events in New York. Eisenhauer especially was a contributor to Kaprow’s early happenings

String Player – Charlotte Moorman
Seen playing the cello while lying on the floor and later from the balcony.

Jazz Musician – Don Heckman
Seen playing saxophone. Later moved into jazz journalism. Together with Ed Summerlin, curated the jazz events at Moorman’s festivals.

include Dick Higgins and Jackson Mac Low, two language artists associated with Fluxus. Mac Low is seen near the beginning of the film, wearing the CORE/Freedom Now shirt.

Conductor – Alvin Lucier
The noted electronic music composer is briefly seen conducting the actors in their simultaneous readings.

Painter – Robert Delford Brown
Commissioned the film from Moore. Replaced by Fluxus artist Ay-O after a disagreement with Kaprow.

Poet – Allen Ginsberg
The Beat poet is seen early in the film observing the models, then drinks water from Nam June Paik’s shoe, and later chants mantras in his role as “the poet.”

Producer (film) – Barbara Moore  Editor (film) – Susan Brockman

For assistance with tonight’s screening, thanks to Oliver Smith, Robbie Land, and Eyedrum.

Special thanks to Barbara Moore, who provided many of the details of the film’s production and also shared her recollections of the performances.

Program notes: 2003 Andy Ditzler

manifestations media

Rutt-etra Video Synthesizer


Swatch Zapping by NJP



Nam June Paik has died. The Korean-born, celebrated video artist Nam June Paik died on 29-JAN at the age of 74 in Miami, USA.  In 1996, he designed the nice artist special Zapping (SKZ104) for Swatch. Here is more information about his life.  At the Swatch Wristory auction in New York City on 3-DEC-2001, a signed Zapping swatch in special packaging was sold as Lot no. 16 for $5000 US.  After Jean-Michel Folon and Mimmo Rotella, he is the third well-known swatch artist who has died in recent weeks 🙁

In order to promote this watch, the first ever online game called Swatch net.hunt is initiated starting April 1, 1996.


Charlotte Moorman and Nam June Paik “The Originale”

Charlotte Morman talks about how she met her long time artistic partner Nam June Paik. The details of the establishment and presentation of the 1964 premier performance of Stockhausen’s “Originale” in New York is described in very funny detail. She tells about George Maciunas (Fluxus) picketing the performance. Filmed in 1980 under a grant from the National Endowment for the arts. It is an excerpt from the work “Charlotte Morman and the New York Avant Garde.” by Fred Stern


NJP Film Archive (selections)

Panel Time/Space # 1. John Cage, Dave Ashton, M. Cunningham, NJP, R.Kostelanetz_”


  • Kaprow, Cage, Lamont Young, Joseph Cornell, Paik, deKooning
  • “I don’t object to categorizing and defining work, but I think they’re pernicious in defining people – they close off one’s space”
  • “Polyartist” – a single grand professional space… it’s hard to know where one art ends and another begins

J. Cage

  • “How to go out through the senses, without any concepts… That’s why I use chance operations.”
  • “If I have the opportunity to continue working, I think the work would resemble more and more not the work of a person, but something that might have happened even if the person wasn’t there.  Or something like that.”
  • Plurality of buddas in gnostic christianity – “split the stick and there is jesus”
  • We don’t live by one principle but by multiple
  • Indian philosophy and the division of thinking into four parts: the goals of cooking/hunting, the goals of pleasure/sex, the goals of true/false and good and evil, and the liberation from all these concerns
  • “Writing music is one thing and hunting wild mushrooms is another”

CBS Evening News with Cliff Baldwin, 1-10-83

  • Report on Paik’s Guinness Book of World Records

Anthology Film Archives – NJP Anthology Performaince Part II (Shot by Blair Thurman?)

  • Paik’s piece is a duo of emergency airhorns – played until the run out of compressed air

TLC Documentary – The Learning Channel – 1993

  • South Korea’s National Museum of Contemporary Art –
  • SOHO 
    • 1964 moves from Germany
    • Nearly 30 years after his first video art exhibition
  • 1932 – Seoul Korea
    • music and western technology
    • ‘people hiding inside the radio technology’
    • interest in twelve tone music – staukausen
  • 1964 – New York
    • Best kind of robot – as it took 4 men to repair and use the robot – create jobs
  • 1982 – Whitney Museum first retrospective
    • Participation TV
    • Moon is the oldest TV
    • TV Buddha
  • David Ross – Directo, Whitney Museum
  • 1986 – Wrap Around the World
    • TV as a liberator
    • Orwell was wrong
  • David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Laurie Anderson
  • Holly Solmon – Holly Solomon Gallery
    • “why i love nam june paik’s work so very much is because its hopeful…”
  • “I am trying to intersect software, hardware and underwear”
  • 1992 – Major Retrospective in Seoul
  • 1993 – Golden Lion award for Venice Biennale – Hans Haacke and Nam June Paik

American Art Today – A View from the Whitney – 1987

  • Lisa Phillips – Curator 
    • early eighties was a tumultuous change – occured in the early eighties
  • Barbara Kruger
  • Commodity art – loss, technical production, reprographic, reduction of the presence of the hand
  • Judy Pfaff – NYC BQE
  • Paik
  • Hanhardt
  • Yvonne Rainer – The Man Who Envied Women
  • Paul Glabicki – Obeject Conversation
  • Bill Viola – I do not know what it is I am like

Tiger Lives by Nam June Paik – 1999

Robot Accident from Living with the Living Theater – 1989



Lessons from the Video Master (2006)

“Day of concert, law of jungle” – Mary Lucier quoting NJP

ideas media

Time and Space Concepts in Music and Visual Art

Merce Cunningham, Nam June Paik, John Cage (1978)


  • “All profound things have been spoken, so I will speak something vulgar.”
  • “Only in artist, art and heavyweight boxing, you have to be top five to pay your rent.  And in heavyweight boxing you always know who wins.  Although it can be fixed, but not as easily as in the art world.”
  • “Key quesiton of our society is human time and machine time.  Why happens the car accident… The engine is faster than break… So we have to think of machine time.”
  • “Video tape has sequential access, books are random access.  That’s why books are still the most advance technology…”
  • “What is time – past, present, future.  You can measure past, you can measure future – you cannot measure ‘now.”
  • “Nobody has the guts to make music as bad as John Cage”
ideas manifestations realisations


Tokyo-Ga = “Tokyo Images”

Wim Wenders says, “If in our century something  sacred still existed… if there were something like a sacred treasure of the cinema, then for me that would have to be the work of the Japanese director, Yasujiro Ozu.  He made fifty-four films.  Silent films in the Twenties, black-and-white films in the Thirties and Forties, and finally colour films until his death on December 12th, 1963, on his sixtieth birthday.

As thoroughly Japanese as they are, these films are, at the same time, universal.  In them, I’ve been able to recognize all families, in all the countries of the world, as well as my parents, my brother and myself.  For me, never before and never again since has the cinema been so close to its essence and its purpose: to present an image of man in our century, a usable, true and valid image, in which he not only recognizes himself but from which, above all, he may learn about himself.Ozu’s work does not need my praise and such a sacred treasure of the cinema could only reside in the realm of the imagination.

And so, my trip to Tokyo was in no way a pilgrimage.  I was curious as to whether I still could track down something from this time, whether there was still anything left of this work. Images perhaps, or even people… Or whether so much would have changed in Tokyo in the twenty years since Ozu’s death that nothing would be left to find.

Seoul-Sajin = “Seoul Images”

And so, my trip to Seoul was in no way a pilgrimage…

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