Nam June Paik (1932-2006)

A favorite of mine is the 1974 work that has a classical Buddha statue meditating in front of a tv screen that shows the meditating Buddha. Flickering mimetic repetition or eternal return? The wheel of samsara or Nietzsche? Your pick. Nam June Paik smiles. There is a film that shows him sitting in front of this installation and patting the Buddha on the head, saying “Buddha, wake up” and “I think he is bored.” Paik is the Buddha. Now. Forever.
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1 Response

  1. WKL says:

    Pierre: You are right.

    I am so sad and upset about this. I wanted so much to be in NY for the viewing and funeral but cdn’t be there. But I am going to be in Miami next weekend by coincidence and wd like to seek out his winter home to pay some sort of homage. I’ll finally buy a video camera to do so.

    I have such indelible, endlessly rewarding memories of Nam June and his shows, impromptu lectures on street corners in Soho (outside the loft he was a squatter in), mad curating of that Fluxus and everything else show (SeoulNYMax) at the Millennium FIlm Anthology (I think), preparing bowls of wasabi to pinch in his nose for all-night editing sessions, the whirring, clanking, collapsing robot he and a madly working crew–diving, whirling, tinkering, jumping, running all around it at Nam June’s frustrated command–somehow managed to get up Madison Ave. to the Whitney Museum’s entrance.

    Now I am haunted by every memory of him and am grateful for it.

    — Walter K. Lew

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