Nam June Paik Timeline




  • Born in Seoul, South Korea
  • John Cage and Joseph Beuys in Munich, Germany
  • FLUXUS, Yoko Ono, NY
  • Random Access (Records Schaschlik), interactive music exhibition
  • Afterlude to the Exposition of Experimental Television
  • Zen for TV
  • NY
  • Robot K-456 with Shuya Abe
  • Magnet TV
  • Moon is the Oldest TV
  • Zen for Film
  • TV Crown
  • Beatles Electroniques with Jud Yalkut
  • Us Down By the Riverside with Jud Yalkut
  • Opera Sextronique with Charlotte Moorman: she is arrested.
  • TV Clock, Digital Experiment at Bell Labs, Etude 1 @ Bell Labs
  • Cybernetics of Arts
  • Concordance Letter, essay in Flykingen Bulletin
    @ Stockholm
  • Texts on TV / Aphorisms
  • Stony Brook Report (referenced in Video Common Market)
  • Paik-Abe Video Synthesizer
  • Electronic Moon No. 2
  • Videotape Study No. 3
  • The Medium is the Medium
  • Global Groove and Video Common Market
  • Global Groove
  • Everyone Will Have Their Own TV Channel
  • Video Common Market in The TeleVISION Laboratory News
  • Electronic Super Highway @ Rockefeller Foundation
  • TV Garden @ Whitney
  • TV Buddha @ Stedelijk
  • I Ching TV, TV of Change
  • TV Candle
  • TV Fish
  • Married to Shigeko Kubota
  • Documenta 6 Satellite Telecast
  • Projects: Nam June Paik @ Museum of Modern Art
  • Time and Space Concepts in Music and Visual Art with John Cage and Merce Cunningham
  • How to Make Oil Obsolete
  • Lake Placid ’80 @ 1980 Olympic Winter Games
  • Nam June Paik @ Whitney
  • V-yramid
  • Participation TV
  • Satellite Art Distribution, Multi-Locale Participation, Art Broadcast
  • Good Morning, Mr. Orwell @ satellite via NY, Pompidou, Germany, South Korea
  • German TV show, “Bei Bio”
  • Egg Grows @ San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Butterfly
  • Bye Bye Kipling @ satellite via Seoul, Tokyo, NY
  • Wrap Around the World @ satellite via 1988 Seoul Olympics
  • The More the Better / Dadaikseon
  • Venus
  • Tele-Commuting: From Bali to Broadway
  • A Tale of Two Cities with Paul Garrin
  • Golden Lion @ Venice Biennale
  • Untitled, player piano, 15 televisions, 2 cameras, 2 laser disk players, 1 light
  • More Log-In: Less Logging
  • TV Buddha Reincarnated, aka Techno Buddha
  • Sonatine For Goldfish, aka TV Fish
  • Global Encoder
  • Cyberforum
  • Video Server
  • Rt.66 BBS
  • Ars Electronica
  • WareZ Academy
  • Hacker Newbie
  • E-Mail vs Snail Mail
  • WAIS Station
  • Bio-Neural Net
  • Megatron/Matrix @ Smithsonian
  • Electronic Super Highway: Nam June Paik in the ’90s @ Museum of American Art
  • Cybertown
  • Two Channel Music Tape: Spring/Fall with Paul Garrin
  • Stroke
  • Koyto Award
  • TV Garden @ Guggenheim
  • Modulation in Sync @ Guggenheim
  • Analogue Assemblage
  • Global Groove Remix
  • Standing Buddha with Outstretched Hand
  • Golden Buddha
  • Victrola
  • Died, Florida

Art Republishing Conundrum

Two archive images from Maria Porge’s article in American Craft, May 2007. A Whole Life: The Art (and Craft) of Ruth Asawa. The image on the left is a representation of the page as published. The image on the right is a representation of the original page with only the author text remaining.

How to think outside the cage that has grown up around art writing? Established art writers find it extremely difficult to find and make public past art writing. On-line archives for art magazines are more often than not missing , locked behind a paywall, and of poor quality. Subscriber archives at venerable publishers such as Art Forum consist of select articles since 2000, in the form of grainy screenshots of articles, often compressing both text and image into black and white jpegs of size 540 x 400. This tiny amount of information is equivalent to reading an Art Forum article on a 1980’s television, with 20% of the screen blocked by a potted plant. 

At the same time, galleries like Hauser Worth list archives of press for artists. Is there a way to level the playing field for the authors of the original article?

Reprinting past work within the current publishing and legal climate is especially difficult. Reprinting is especially tricky for art writing, due to an excessive combination of out-of-print art publications, a forking trail of long-dead publishers, haphazard archives, lost or vague contracts, and wishful-to-woeful adjudication of republishing rights. In addition, clearing image rights with any artists (or other rights holder) under discussion is also required, and perhaps the image-maker or recorder as well. The complexity quickly becomes overwhelming, contributing to art history’s glacial pace at online organization and digitization?

An alternative that many art writers employ is to scan the print article and put links to the PDF’s. Depending on the publishing contract, authors may have explicit rights to do this. Some publishers put free versions of their publication or specific articles on their own websites, suitable for re-linking by authors. Several writers do full bibliographies with links to available PDF files.

What is best practice? What is legal? What is common? Could higher-resolution files for Art Forum be hosted at the internet archive?

How does this fit into the author/writer/artist identity elsewhere on the web? Is it linking to an academic or organizational affiliation? Or to Is it this linking to an author page? Is it linking to the art writer’s canonical home page?

Is there another way? Is there a way to explicitly manufacture a transformation such that the new media archive’s existence has legal standing? Can transformative works be used to republish and protect fair uses for any of three purposes: preservation, a full-text search engine, and electronic access for disabled patrons who could not read the print versions?


Data Practice Bibliography

boyd, danah. 2006. “Friends, Friendsters, and MySpace Top 8: Writing Community Into Being on Social Network Sites.” First Monday 11:12, December.

Hu, Yuheng, Lydia Manikonda, and Subbarao Kambhampati. “What We Instagram: A First Analysis of Instagram Photo Content and User Types.” ICWSM. 2014.

Keefe, Patrick Radden. “The Detectives Who Never Forget A Face.” The New Yorker, August 22, 2016.

Lee, Pamela. “Identity Theft.” Jessica Silverman Gallery text

Liu, Alan. “Transcendental Data: Toward a Cultural History and Aesthetics of the New Encoded Discourse.” Critical Inquiry 31 (2004): 209-38.

Liu, Hugo. “Social Network Profiles as Taste Performances.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communications 13 (2008): 252-275.

Manovich, Lev. “The Anti-Sublime Ideal in Data Art.” Lev Manovich. 2002. 2016-07-20.

Manovich, Lev. “Notes on Instagrammism and contemporary cultural identity.” 2016.

Ostrow, Saul. Decoding O’Doherty, Art in America. December 2007.

Paglen, Trevor. Scripts,

Whitelaw, Mitchell. “Art Against Information: Case Studies in Data Practice.” The Fiberculture Journal 11 (2008 DAC conference proceedings).

DTL 16, Data Transparency Lab

FAT-ML 16, Fairness Accountability Transparency in ML

Proposal for a new Facebook account type: monad

Something so simple that it can be described via a phone keyboard.

Current Facebook account types are: organization, person, fictional character. May I suggest one more? 

Introducing the monad account type. This is an account by a person, using their real name, that has no wall and accepts no friend invitations. This account type can join groups, and sign up for event notifications. 

Eleven Electronic Media Questions for Artists

2015-07-31 12.01.23

Q1. How do you like to communicate? Rank everything from voice phone call, texting, email, in person, etc. Top five only.

Q2. How do you search for art on the internet? What do you find?

Q3. What is your oldest digital file? How do you store it?

Q4. What is your oldest extant artwork? Where is it? How is it stored or displayed?

Q5. Do you have an art documentation system, and if so, what? Have you seen other art documentation systems that you liked? Do you remember how you made work ten years ago?

Q6. Search for yourself. Google, Facebook, etc. What do you see? Do you see anything missing?

Q7. Where is your oldest digital self hidden?

Q8. Do you have any media policies? If yes, detail. A media policy is an action or protocol that you put in place that regulates media. For instance, not having a Facebook account is a media policy. Only watching two hours of television a night is a media policy. Figuring out when to post on Instagram (Instagram Prime Time) is a media policy. Etc, etc.

Q9. List all current media and social media accounts accessed via the internet. Specify two or three favorites. Do you have any aliases, and if so, detail to your desired comfort level. Have you ever had an on-line account suspended or deactivated, if so, detail as above. Do you archive social media history, track meta-data, and if so detail.

Q10. Is your public representation a result of a deliberate strategy or strategies on your part, or is this just internet magic? Discuss. Do you own FIRSTNAME.LASTNAME?

Q11. What simple things do you do that are likely to work in the future? Especially for areas like password managers, image file formats, archival data, on-line, etc?

Something great from the New Yorker: The GNU Manifesto turns 30 by Maria Bustillos. Previously as Dream Freely. See Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Best practices for conservation of media art from an artists perspective for art best practices. Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, in Preserving Your Treasures.

Thirty Years of the GNU Manifesto

The free software movement entering its 30th year is the ideal time to reflect on previous successes and prioritize future work.

The success has been massive. The software industry has been irrevocably changed from a model of selecting the best fit commodity proprietary software component for a given task into a knowledge-based model of crafting known good components into the custom software-hardware machines. Changing the software to fit the task and not the other way around. The idea of contributing back to development communities, and empowering others has moved from the periphery to a central part of all software development. It’s not all rosy, some obstinate people and institutions still don’t get it, but even ten years of perspective gives confidence that the worst structural barriers of the old proprietary software model have been banished for good.

There is still much to do, with both the social and the technology aspects of the free software movement.

The software aspects.

The software universe is expanding at an exponential rate. Software components are being combined into custom systems with exponentially increasing complexity. Managing this complexity is the top technical priority of the free software movement today. Solutions include conscientious documentation practices, and the development and incorporation of new visual tools into software engineering practice that supplement the usual perception of source code as literary text. Visual grammars that change perception, comprehension, and analysis of software sources exist today within proprietary confines and must be surpassed by yet-to-be devised free forms. The free software community must lead this effort and make sure that the tools and visual solutions adopted are free for all to use and fully model the capabilities of free software ecosystems.

The organizational and social aspects.

Free and open software communities are not fixed forms, and need to evolve as social movements. Experiments with new organizational forms that encourage equal participation regardless of gender, generational cohort, geographic region, or corporate sponsorship should be encouraged.

Why Algo

I exploit free software algorithms and commodity hardware to remove asymmetries in computational power. This aesthetic of computing makes media machines that first represent, then simulate, and finally construct reality in a way that can demystify control structures and make transparent instruments of exploitation. I use these media machines to explore perceptual limits, search for hidden structural beauty, and reveal new aesthetic domains or conceptual territories that are otherwise obscured by our normal human sensory apparatuses.

This work is created from a set of experiments that seek to combine computer science with media. These experiments are collectively called The Machine is Learning, and consist of images generated by training computers to watch and analyze print, television, film, and social media. Works created from The Machine is Learning incorporate many mediums and cross multiple disciplines, embrace the failures of machine seeing, the proven weaknesses of human perception, and the racial and gender biases encoded in mass media. Some examples:

1. The Machine is Learning the “The Man Trap”
Samples the characters and the story of the Star Trek episode “The Man Trap,” and uses facial recognition algorithms to mark up this source such that the computer and facial recognition algorithms become a new character in an augmented story, creating an intelligent automated protagonist. This new character emphasizes humanoid elements like eyes and faces, allowing the perception of the crew “as if” from the viewpoint of the native life form, or even as an omnipotent force present in both the consciousness of the native live form and all the Star Trek crew members, simultaneously.

2. All the Uhuras (left/right), All the Uhuras (center)
Samples the frames from two seasons of Star Trek episodes, and identifies all the frames containing the series’ only African American female character on the regular cast Uhura, sorts the resulting frames by Uhura’s face position in the frame, and arranges these samples as cropped portrait photos forming a broken grid on two large sheets of paper.

3. Equal Weight Uhuras
Samples six characters from two seasons of Star Trek episodes, and re-constructs two seasons in a condensed form, where all the characters have the same amount of “screen time” as the character Uhura, with the added proviso that all the characters are shown talking equally to each other in a random fashion, or conversing alone with a representation of space.

4. Valentine Homography
Two Channel Video Art Installation. Two 34 inch LED televisions, wall-mounted to be touching in landscape orientation, two 19:44 minute 1080p synchronized loops playing a metadata composition generated by combining portrait photography, tumblr and pinterist social media image scrapes, and computer vision software.

I am experimenting with color contour detection in images, using the SURF homography algorithm in the Open Source Computer Vision (OpenCV) software library. I apply this algorithm as a Trevor Paglen-defined seeing machine to social media images: profile portraits, liked images, and disliked images. This computational lens simulates computer matchmaking in a visual form that is but one instance in a sea of many thousand “known-good” or positive test cases that the machine learning behind websites such as Facebook, Tindr, Grindr, OkCupid,,, etc. must crunch to create a single user’s match.

To create this positive test case, I collaborated with my real-life partner to stage ten normcore portraits counter to the prevailing profile portraiture aesthetic, collected forty images from each of our preferred social medias that were positive, and ten that were negative. These input images were used by the machine learning system to simulate what a positive match “looks like” when using its “match the humans” algorithm.

One the first screen, an image is matched with an image on the second screen. The results of this match are visualized as Edward Tufte-inspired blue circles, indicating the parts of the image with enough color contrast to serve as a useful point of comparison. As the algorithm expands the size of the points, less accurate and lower-frequency blue circles appear. Blue circles on the first are “matched” to blue circles on the second with red lines marking the connecting route in-between. Often, the matching lines seem nonsensical and wrong to the human observer.

To structure the generated images, I use a composition of blinks, winks, slow fades, and swipes right. These are contemporary gestures mobile interfaces and applications associate with love and liking. I re-purpose and re-imagine these repertoires as a video editing grammar. Experimental film and video artists like James Benning, Takeshi Murata, and Nicholas Provost have also used editing grammars to explore new art spaces.

5. Asama Loops
A combinatoric iconography machine composed of four black and white images, one composite black and white image, three pure colors, and three modified color compositions. These images are combined with carousel swipes, synthetic vertical rolls, and one and two-minute still loops to represent a previous conceptual work on paper (Asama OG) in video art form.

Why Paper

Why Paper?

Me, paper.

Paper and me.

It is incongruous on first glance, like many great romances.

Paper: Archival, botanical, the substrate of so much knowledge, and a surface so variable, from crisp ultra smooth to hand-poured and soft. How to fill out the profile: is it elemental, or common yet still mysterious? A flattering look for every light.

Me: Not so archival. Botanical friendly. Perhaps the opposite of the above.

Paper: A twenty century history, origins in Asia, entwined with the earliest movements of people across Eurasia, from origins in China to Japan to Spain and lower France, long before the Americas were perceived from across the Atlantic Ocean. But wait! Enter the Americas, and ideas of freedom, information, and paper, all intertwined.

Me: Imported from Detroit.

Paper: World-wide practice not centered in Europe, yet with an ancient art historical tradition which easily satisfies even the most strictly pedantic / European formalist art history probing.

Me: (Laughs to himself. Laughs, and laughs.)

Paper: (?)

Me: So you look at a backlit LED all day, and want to look at something unlit and reflective? Paper. You find yourself living in the midst of the real-life de-materialization of objects? Paper. You have no confidence that you can navigate the vast proliferation of digital document formats over time, and want to standardize on one thing that multiple generations can understand and has centuries of archival understanding? PAPER.

Paper: You.

Me: You.

Me: There’s more. The thing about paper is that it is still heavily used as a primary creative medium. I think on paper. I use paper to write down ideas in a notebook. I inkjet on it. I try to make big sheets of it with wet pulp and a robot. Why not? I see artist from John Cage to Nam June Paik to K-HOLE on paper. I see graphic scores, graphic diagrams for layering, random doodles, flippant marginalia, ways to describe hybrid media. I see bande dessinée from Moebius, the pop culture of Japan in the seventeenth century, and the hacker zines Phrack and 2600 as a meta-universe of works that were rendered on paper. In a disparate world, there is still no more common denominator.

Paper: You.

Me: You. Even if the art jumps of the page at a later stage, it started on paper. And often comes back to it, in unexpected ways.

Paper: You.