Nam June Paik


Since Nam June Paik is generally regarded as the father of video art, most observers misread his work as deriving from a fascination with TV and technology, with the flickering, glimmering image on the tube, and with the ubiquity of the camera. Yet Paik’s fascination goes hand in hand with a deep skepticism towards technology and the mass media—something few people realize, even though Paik himself has spoken about the way his objects ridicule technology. Several of his pieces allow two traditions, two completely opposite philosophies of life, to collide with each other: the Western tradition, that of the industrialized societies, which is aimed at distraction, and the tradition of Zen Buddhism, which is devoted to contemplation.

While Paik’s early works were inspired by his playful skepticism toward technology, the latest pieces reveal an effort to cope with an unleashed technology, which

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 1989 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.