…in the words of Menene Gras
Nam June Paik considered mass art as the model for information art. Along with electronic engineer Shuya Abe, in 1969 Paik invented his own video synthesizers and forecasted the emergence of a “broadband communication network” or “information superhighway”, to allude to the wide variety of electronic tools at hand. While largely experimenting with television, he considered the synthesizer as the real antecedent of the Internet as it allowed for the creation of media contents. Paik’s aesthetic project would be unthinkable before the first experiments in electronic art. It fully embraced the development of new technologies and contributed to their constitution to the point of setting up the image of the post-electronic era. From his first 1963’s exhibition at Parnass Gallery, where he manipulated televisions into artistic objects, up until his death, Paik was always faithful to his opinions, taking his experiments to paroxysm, both in the distortion of the TV signal and in the field of performance and video recordings. TV was the consumption object par excellence, in which Paik found an instrument to negotiate modern technology. However, Paik’s artistic and aesthetic project can only be approached as a “whole”, a combination of theory and different practices, ranging from philosophy to music in order to conceive a “total work of art” in the Wagnerian sense of the term.
A key institution in the preservation of Paik’s legacy, the Nam June Paik Art Centre was opened in 2008, as the result of many conversations with the artist, where he expressed the wish that the institution became “the House where the Spirit of Nam June Paik lives on.”