Nam June Paik: 1932-2006

Born in South Korea, working in America, Paik was a pioneer in the artistic transformation of television and video, turning popular media into art.

He described these new electronic artforms as neither sculpture or painting, but something new entirely - something he called ‘time art’. 

Without electricity there can be no art.
Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii - 1995

Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii - 1995

In his hands the TV became more than a one-way delivery system for a message - it became the conduit for to-and-fro dialogue, the nervous system of a nervous age that was learning suddenly that information could not be contained, yet people could be controlled.

He was one of the first to imagine a world where the barriers between people and place were obliterated through interconnection - where networks of data were shared through radio and TV waves.

In essence he predicted the internet, and it is therefore perhaps no surprise that he is credited with being the first person to coin the term "electronic superhighway".

Celtic Memory - 1991

Celtic Memory - 1991

On New Year's Day 1984 he launched "Good Morning, Mr. Orwell" in tribute to the stark warnings of dystopian George Orwell. Heralded as the world's first international satellite installation, an audience of 25 million people around the world watched a link-up between America, France, Germany and South Korea. Whilst technical difficulties disrupted the whole performance, numerous performers interacted with live and pre-recorded graphics in a curious and chaotic medley of pop, pop-art, music, movement and mostly hidden meanings.

"Good Morning, Mr. Orwell" was the first international satellite installation by Video Art pioneer Nam June Paik initially broadcast on New Year's Day, 1984.