topic two (Part 2)

Nam Jun Paik had significantly experienced the polarization of cultural and conventional traditions throughout his time in the United States. His works typically carry themes like the human interactions and anti-commercialism. As an artist, he attempted to bring out unintended uses in electronics, as seen in the two discussed installations.

Zen for Film Installment by Nam Jun Paik
Zen for Film
Installment by Nam Jun Paik (Paik Art Center – 2012 exhibition)

Nam Jun Paik’s installation of Zen for Film effortlessly characterizes the Fluxus movement of the mid-20th century. His installation featured a powered 16 mm film projector set at a certain distance from a bare white wall. A reel presents 14 minutes of nothing. A small projection bounces off the wall, presenting a small, square-shaped beam of light, on an otherwise dark wall. The piece stems to the movement through the “anti-art” employment. It chides the period’s emerging visual representations in films and challenges the viewers to not focus on what is presented through film, but at the machinery itself and the casted light.

Electronic Superhighway Installment by Nam Jun Paik
Electronic Superhighway
Installment by Nam Jun Paik (Smithsonian American Art Museum – 2006 exhibition)

Paik’s Electronic Superhighway combines fifty-one unique channels distributed to hundreds of Sony televisions, each block of televisions of the same channel bordered by neon. The neon lights and the television placements represent the United States. His cybernetic installation aims to emphasize the way our country has been molded by the television and films; moreover, how central the medium had become as a staple concept of American culture and tradition. The various sound bites, playing along with the flashing videos of moving individuals, aim to fully illustrate the complex chaos this cybernetic world has created.


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