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Wednesday, March 25, 2020 (7:00pm)
University Lutheran, 3637 Chestnut Street
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Introduced by Gregory Zinman, editor, “We Are in Open Circuits: Writings by Nam June Paik”
After moving from his native Seoul, first to Germany to study music alongside the likes of Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage, and then to the United States, Nam June Paik lived what seems like the romantic archetype of the post-war New York artist. He drifted easily between avant-garde music, film, and fine art and helped in turn to create two new disciplines: video art and video installation. By 1962 he was a member of Fluxus and would collaborate with a litany of bright lights from Cage and Charlotte Moorman to Shigeko Kubota and Jud Yalkut.
Ridiculous Technology collects some of Paik’s most important early works, with special emphasis on his connection with the burgeoning experimental music scene. In Beatles Electroniques, Paik distorts imagery of the Beatles using a video synthesizer alongside an electronic soundtrack by Kenneth Werner composed of Beatles loops. Video Tape Study No. 3 critiques Lyndon B. Johnson to a score by David Behrman. Electronic Fables is one of Paik’s more visually beautiful and minimal productions featuring the voices of Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Allen Ginsberg, and Moondog, among others. Waiting for Commercials features found footage of international commercials originally used as part of a Charlotte Moorman performance. Global Groove is perhaps Paik’s single-channel masterpiece, a collage of original video, his past work, commercials, dance, popular music, and contributions by Cage, Stockhausen, and Moorman. Taken together, these works begin to scratch the surface of one of the most wide-ranging artists of the 20th Century.