Lies are Always More Exciting than the Truth

NamJune Paik Award 2008 Fondation Corboud Internationaler Medienkunstpreis der Kunststiftung NRW

  • “In the Middle Ages«,wrote Paik to his Parisian museum colleagues,»illumination information coincided. In church windows information was transmitted as illumination.In medieval manuscripts the images were ›illuminations‹.«»Before the development of agrarian society all information had to be weightless,temporal; an audiovisual culture with dance,music,folk tales and songs,for it was impossible to carry around the written records,particularly beforethe invention of paper.”
    The conjecture of weightless information was Paik’s vehicle for transmittinghis own message, the coming era of electronic art and hence the epochalsignificance of his work.He wanted an endless kaleidoscope of video and television images. His satellite programme Good Morning Mr.Orwell of 1984 wasintended as a “multi-temporal,multi-spatial symphony.”
    – Quoted from: Nam June Paik, »Sixtina Electronica « (1986), in Nam June Paik. Video Time –Video Space, Toni Stooss and Thomas Kellein (eds.),Ostfildern-Ruit bei Stuttgart 1991,p.7
  • He claimed, for example, that in 700B C a Chineseemperor put up a reward of a million dollars for horse, on the condition that it could gallop a thousand miles per day.For three months a minister searchedthroughout the empire for such an animal, but it was found too late, havingdied the previous day. The minister, according to Paik, wept bitterly, but devised a ploy.He paid half a million for the dead horse and had to convince hisemperor – who was understandably upset by the bad news – that the entirepopulation would profit from the news about this purchase price that wouldnow spread, for everyone would believe that the search for a living horsewould be worth their while.According to Paik the impact of this Chinese legend lasted for generations.In290B C Dyang Juo Tsu noted that three such horses had been found.For Paik,who enjoyed recounting historical anecdotes,art ideally played a role like that of the sought-after Chinese horse.
  • He also proposed some »new existential forms of music«, like the Read Music to read oneself or his own personal Musical Yoga, an Omnibus Music for City in chartered buses and an environment called Étude Platonique. This melancholy piece for ten rooms was to do with the sound of a pretty girl who sat silently in one of the rooms dressed in a bikini
  • [his work] is deliberately concerned with less than we want and desire. It is the uncomfortable superficiality in his work that, like the Nam June Paik Award,encourages the search for great faith and the finding of wondrous Chinese horses.

– Lies are Always More Exciting than the Truth – Nam June Paik’s Futuristic Traditionalism by Dr. Thomas Kellein.


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