Nam June Paik
Nam June Paik created Ommah (“mother” in Korean), his last video sculpture, in 2005. A traditional boy’s silk robe from the early 20th century hangs in front of an LCD TV. On the screen, three Korean American girls in traditional costume dance, play ball, beat a drum, and ride around in a toy car for about three minutes. The background features close-ups on early video games; TV show footage; and material from Global Groove, a video Paik made in 1974. Paik manipulated the footage using a color video synthesizer that he co-invented. He set it to ambient studio sounds and to snippets from his own experimental music from the 1950s.
Nam June Paik
Nam June Paik (1932–2006) is known as the “father of video sculpture” who attacked the passivity that he felt television imposed on viewers. Through endless play with the medium, he reclaimed it as an expressive, democratic tool. Paik was born in Seoul, Korea, and attended the University of Tokyo before moving to Germany. There he met John Cage, pursued avant-garde music and performance, and participated in the Fluxus movement. He embraced rising visual technologies such as television and the portable video camera after moving to New York City in 1964. A trickster who crossed “high” culture with “low,” Paik never lost the homemade, improvised quality of his earliest experiments.