by Jim Nintzel
When I was a young man in Manhattan taking photographs of anything that moved, for myself and for anyone that would publish the images, I accidently intersected with Nam June Paik. He changed how I did what I did in photography by showing me aka teaching me, the importance of including absurdity in my work. I shot for him, worked with him, from the mid-seventies to when I moved to San Francisco in 1994. That experience unlocked the door to everything I try to do.
The wide presence of the media arts in contemporary culture is in no small measure due to the power of Paik's art and ideas. Through television projects, installations, performances, collaborations, development of new artists' tools, writing, and teaching, he has contributed to the creation of a media culture that has expanded the definitions and languages of art making.The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at downtown's Exploded View gallery, 197 E. Toole Ave. More info here.
Paik's life in art grew out of the politics and anti-art movements of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. During this time of societal and cultural change, he pursued a determined quest to combine the expressive capacity and conceptual power of performance with the new technological possibilities associated with the moving image.
I will argue that Paik realized the ambition of the cinematic imaginary in avant-garde and independent film by treating film and video as flexible and dynamic multitextual art forms. Using television, as well as the modalities of singlechannel videotape and sculptural/installation formats, he imbued the electronic moving image with new meanings. Paik's investigations into video and television and his key role in transforming the electronic moving image into an artist's medium are part of the history of the media arts.