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Nam June Paik & Friends

Programme: Nam June Paik & Friends
Director: Nam June Paik
Format: Digital File / Category IIA
Type: Screening
Length: 58 min.
Language: Multiple (with Chinese and/or English subtitles)
Audience: Everyone
Location: House 1

Nam June Paik & Friends

The programme brings together two videos from the 1970s portraying some of the artist’s most productive years in America. As an active member of Fluxus, Nam June Paik worked with international artists across disciplines and genres, emphasising interdisciplinary collaboration and artistic process. With this approach, art and life naturally merged: collaborators became friends, and friendships enabled creativity and became materials themselves for art making.

Edited for Television and A Tribute to John Cage illustrate the collective or personal performance within the public sphere. The works define and communicate a new understanding of art and Paik’s acute awareness of the creative and collaborative potential with his exceptional network of friends. Beyond documenting these historical moments, these works shed light on Paik’s prescient understanding of the power of constructed images, their global circulation, and the works becoming as art in their own right.

Nam June Paik. A Tribute to John Cage, 1973, re-edited 1976. Single-channel digital video (colour, sound), duration: 29 min. 2 sec.. M+, Hong Kong. © Nam June Paik/EAI

Nam June Paik. Nam June Paik: Edited for Television, 1975. Single-channel digital video (black and white, colour, sound), duration: 29 min. 24 sec.. M+, Hong Kong. © Nam June Paik/EAI

A Tribute to John Cage

Nam June Paik | 1973, re-edited 1976 | Single-channel digital video | Colour | Sound | Chinese subtitles | 29 min. 2 sec.

M+, Hong Kong

A Tribute to John Cage pays homage to Paik’s lifelong friend and composer John Cage. The artists met in Germany in the 1950s and shared interest in music, participatory and experimental art around Fluxus. The video traces the methodologies and philosophies that informed Cage's radical musical aesthetic from various perspectives including voiceovers and interview excerpts. Scenes of Cage alternate with a series of street performances, including Paik’s intervention with Robot K-456 on the streets of New York and Cage’s seminal performance 4′33″ in Harvard Square, Boston in 1976.

Nam June Paik: Edited for Television

Nam June Paik | 1975 | Single-channel digital video | B&W | Colour | Sound | Chinese & English subtitles | 29 min. 24 sec.

M+, Hong Kong

Nam June Paik: Edited for Television is part of Video Television Review, a series produced by the New York television station WNET in the mid-1970s. The station was home to the Television Laboratory, or TV Lab, which hosted residencies for early video artists, including Paik. The richly illustrated documentary features the artist in his New York studio, filled with altered television sets and video sculptures. In a witty conversation with fellow artist and programme narrator Russell Connor and The New Yorker journalist Calvin Thompkins, Paik discusses his practice and philosophies in relation to technology, Buddhism, and various art movements: Dada, Fluxus, and Minimalism.

About the Artist

Nam June Paik (1932-2006, South Korea) was one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. As a pioneer of technology-based art, Paik has created a large body of work comprising performances, single-channel moving image works, video sculptures, and installations. Known for his experimental, collaborative, and interdisciplinary practice, he was a key member of the Fluxus movement and a visionary thinker who predicted the future of art making and communication in the internet age.