Saturday, 12 October 2013

Still transmitting: why Nam June Paik matters




Dr Mario Relich, poet, academic, Secretary of the Scottish Poetry Association, and member of the Executive Committee of Scottish PEN, reflects on Korean American artist Nam June Paik's exhibition at the Talbot Rice Gallery. Considered by many to be the founder of video art, Paik died in 2006.

Still transmitting
Why Nam June Paik Matters

 
I recently visited the only remnant of this year's Edinburgh International Festival, namely the exhibition of 'Transmitted Live: Nam June Paik Resounds'. I expected something in the way of possibly uninspiring installation art. In fact, it's a wonderful display of all kinds of musical/technological art-work inspired by Paik's 1963 exhibition 'Exposition of Music -- Electronic Television' in Wuppertal.
 
Paik in the programme notes is described as 'a pathfinder of media art, turning such technologies as television, video, satellite broadcast and laser into creative and experimental forms of art.' Highlights for me were a small, enclosed area devoted to the music of the Beatles at the time, and in the Georgian Gallery of Talbot Rice, a film exploring dance, from various cultures, together with shots of the likes of John Cage and Allen Ginsberg edited in visually intricate and really beautiful patterns. The exhibition in a way celebrates freedom of expression at its most playful, and the artist's legacy lives on at the Nam June Paik Art Centre in South Korea.

You still have time to see it, and give yourself at least an hour to appreciate its splendours, until 19 Oct.


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