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Nam June Paik «Good Morning, Mr. Orwell» | Good Morning Mr. Orwell
Nam June Paik, «Good Morning, Mr. Orwell», 1984
Good Morning Mr. Orwell | © Nam June Paik

 Nam June Paik
«Good Morning, Mr. Orwell»

In «1984», the novel he wrote in 1948, George Orwell sees the television of the future as a control instrument in the hands of Big Brother in a totalitarian state. Right at the start of the much-anticipated Orwellian year, Paik was keen to demonstrate satellite TV's ability to serve positive ends such as the intercontinental exchange of culture combining both highbrow and entertainment elements. A live broadcast shared between WNET TV in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris and hooking up with broadcasters in Germany and South Korea reached a worldwide audience of over 10 or even (including the later repeat transmissions) 25 million. The broadcast carried forward Paik's videotape ‘Global Grove' of 1973 – an early, pioneering concept aimed at international understanding through the vehicle of TV – by expanding the concept with the possibilities of satellite transmission in real time. Although abundant technical hitches sometimes rendered the results unpredictable, Paik deemed that this merely served to increase the ‘live' mood. The mixture of mainstream TV and avant-garde arts was a balancing act typical of Paik and met with more misgiving from art-oriented viewers than the audience Paik termed «the young, media oriented peiple, who play 20 channels of New York TV stations like piano keys». The artist personally invested a large sum in the project in order to realize his vision. Asked what he would say to St. Peter at the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven, Paik instantly replied that this live show was his «direct contribution to human survival and he'll let me in.»