Nam Jun Paik

By: Patrick Cates
July 20, 2009


In the Orwellian year of 1984, my father took me to the Centre Pompidou and exposed my 10-year-old sponge of a brain to its first contemporary art collection and, therein, to a towering agglomeration of television sets, each showing different and apparently disconnected sequences of the concrete and the abstract. I stumbled away baffled, befuddled and overstimulated, and with a hazy, unsettling montage of objects, colors and sounds seeping through my noggin. That day, NAM JUNE PAIK (1932-2006) lodged himself firmly in my consciousness. I wish I’d been at the multicolored, inside-out gasworks on New Year’s Day of the same year, when Paik — inventor of video art, gadget junkie, minimalist musician, and prescient commentator on the ubiquity of the cathode ray tube — realized “Good Morning, Mr. Orwell,” his shambolic compendium-cum-cabaret-act that linked Paris and New York via satellite and spliced his visionary videography with contributions from, amongst others, John Cage, the Thompson Twins, and Allen Ginsberg. But I’m happy with second best.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: | Diana Rigg | Frantz Fanon | László Moholy-Nagy |

READ MORE about members of the Postmodernist Generation (1924-33).


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