Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathSound and Imageicon: navigation pathSound & Vision
 
Random Access Music; Exposition of Music  Electronic Television (Paik, Nam June), 1963TV mit Mikro (Paik, Nam June)Kuba-TV (Paik, Nam June), 1963
 
 
 

icon: previous page

exhibition in 1963. 30 years before DJ culture Paik made the vinyl record into a musical instrument. More evidence of the avant-garde anticipating mainstream: the record player as a pragmatic machine for reproducing music correctly is used for another purpose and becomes an aesthetic machine and a creative instrument, and it is for this reason alone that vinyl records are still made on the principle of Edison's «phonograph.»

The title of this 1963 exhibition says a great deal: «Exposition of Music—Electronic Television» stands for Paik's transition from Paik the composer who came to Germany to study music to Paik the father of video art. For it was here that he mist presented his experiments with television sets, in which he transferred his experience with electronic music to the electronic image. [23] Preparing for this was a long and laborious process (as for Cage's audio tape montage): Paik tinkered with the old TVs he had bought second-hand for a year to make the passive consumer equipment into creative «Participation TV.»There was still no video equipment at this time, so Paik could also work by manipulating the current, broadcast TV program.

 

And even that was very scarce: Germany had only one television channel in 1963, and it only broadcast for two hours each evening, from half past seven to half past nine.

Each of the twelve televisions in the exhibition is modified in a different way. Two of them played with image-sound links: when you make noises into a microphone, these are translated into rapidly oscillating patterns (see the tv with microphone). Or a tape recorder is attached to the monitor so that the patterns created by the music can be seen on the screen, without hearing them («Kuba-TV»). Here the millennia-old dream of synaesthesia is realized by a simple technical short-circuit. But despite all the irony, Paik's true aim is to transfer Cage's musical work with random factors to the pictorial arts. To justify this, he goes back to the physical qualities of the electron: «INDETERMINISM and VARIABILITY is the very UNDERDEVELOPED parameter in optical art, although this has been the central problem in music for the last ten years.» [24] Paik is thus expressly demanding that music's compositional principles should be applied to the pictorial arts. This corresponds with an

icon: next page