From xradiograph

VisualAddiction: Nam June Paik


So much of Paik’s (early?) work was analogue. I would like to say “defiantly analogue” but digital was not so much available. And he didn’t exactly turn up his nose at digital processing later in his career.


But, the early electric/electronic work was rickety, non-scientific, externally-analogue, defiantly imperfect.


incantation (a gadfly)

Beyond Modern Sculpture - Jack Burnham, 1968
Chapter Eight: Robot and Cyborg Art - p351


      Long a gadfly of the musical avant-garde, the Korean Nam June Paik demonstrated a semi-operative robot at an exhibition of electronic art in 1965. Paik, preparing his automaton in New York City, could be termed the Rimbaud of electronics. There is not so much technical expertise in his flirtation with cybernetic and communication theory as there is mastery of incantation: if the names of Rauschenberg, Wiener, John Cage and Marshall McLuhan are repeated with enough fervency and juxtaposed with random mathematical symbols then the age of the electronic humanoid plugged in for instant global communication will be upon us. [emphasis added]


      Aside from this, Nam June Paik’s chief creation, Robot-K456 with 20-Channel Radio Control and 10-Channel Data Recorder*, is the robot “stripped bare” of everything but her[sic] skeletal aluminum and components. Constructed of bolted right-angle channels mounted with muscle-simulating motor and cam units, a loudspeaker, sensory devices, wheels for walking, and a bank of electronic controls in her left leg, K456 responds listlessly to human intervention. Her pathos is that of Descartes’s man-machine-an ungainly collection of wheels, levers, and cogs updated to the tidy confusion of the radio chassis. If the reader remembers the flayed arm of the cadaver in Rembrandt’s Dr. Tulp’s Anatomy Lesson, the greenish-whitish illumination of the corpse, more real than the healthy observers surrounding the dissection table, then he will have some feeling for the electronic fragility of K456. As a cyborgian gesture Paik has added a pair of sponge-rubber falsies to his already well-equipped automaton.


*This descriptive title was first used in Paik’s first one-man show, at Bonino Gallery (1965).




early work


tv synth 1966




k456-Nam-June-Paik-K456 p1-x640
(source) - check out everything else @


late work

hugepaik later
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