Nam June Paik

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Without electricity, there can be no art.
I am a poor man from a poor country, so I have to be entertaining every second.

Nam June Paik (July 20, 1932 – January 29, 2006) was a South Korean–born American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the founder of video art.




  • It is the historical necessity, if there is a historical necessity in history, that a new decade of electronic television should follow to the past decade of electronic music.
  • As collage technique replaced oil paint, the cathode ray tube will replace the canvas. Someday artists will work with capacitors, resistors, and semiconductors as they work today with brushes, violins and junk. There are 4,000,000 dots per second on one television screen, just think of the variety of images you can get. It's so cool. It's like going to the moon.
    • Manifesto, New York, October 1965, as cited in Jasia Reichardt (1971). The computer in art. p. 95
more important, and the latter need not be cybernated. . . .
Cybernetics, the science of pure relations, or relationship
itself, has its origin in karma. . .
The Buddhists also say
Karma is samsara
Relationship is metempsychosis
  • Nam June Paik, “Cybernated Art,” in Manifestos, Great Bear Pamphlets, (New York: Something Else Press, 1966), p. 24; Quoted in: Edward A. Shanken, "Cybernetics and Art: Cultural Convergence in the 1960s," in: From Energy to Information: Representation in Science, Technology, Art, and Literature, Stanford University Press, Bruce Clarke and Linda Dalrymple Henderson (eds.), 2002.
  • By using TV as a bra... the most intimate belonging of a human being, we will demonstrate the human use of technology, and also stimulate viewers... to look for the new, imaginative and humanistic ways of using our technology.
  • I want to shape the TV screen canvas
as precisely as Leonardo,
as freely as Picasso,
as colorfully as Renoir,
as profoundly as Mondrian,
as violently as Pollock
and as lyrically as Jasper Johns.
  • Paik (1969) Versatile Color TV Synthesizer, Manifesto, cited in: Edith Decker-Phillips. Paik Video, Barrytown, Limited, 1998. p. 154


  • Without electricity, there can be no art.
    • Nam June Paik, (c. 1976) in "Nam June Paik retrospective, Liverpool" by Emma O'Kelly in Wallpaper, 20 December 2010 (at
  • Our life is half natural and half technological. Half-and-half is good. You cannot deny that high-tech is progress. We need it for jobs. Yet if you make only high-tech, you make war. So we must have a strong human element to keep modesty and natural life.
    • In: Douglas C. McGill, ART PEOPLE, New York Times, October 3, 1986
  • I make technology ridiculous.
    • Leigh Landy, Antje von Graevenitz. " 'I MAKE TECHNOLOGY RIDICULOUS' — THE UNUSUAL DIALECTICS OF NAM JUNE PAIK," in: Leigh Landy (ed.) 1992. Technik, p. 79
  • Art is just fraud. You just have to do something nobody else has done before.
    • In interview with a Korean newspaper, quoted in: KoreAm Journal, Vol. 17 (2006), p. 79

Quotes about Nam June Paik

  • The Fluxus movement... developed its 'anti-art', anti-commercial aesthetics under the leadership of George Maciunas. Fluxus staged a series of festivals in Paris, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, London and New York, with avant-garde performances often spilling out into the street. Most of the experimental artists of the period, including Joseph Beuys, Yoko Ono and Nam June Paik, took part in Fluxus events. The movement, which still continues, played an important role in the opening up of definitions of what art can be.
  • Never lend Paik a television. He destroys all televisions.
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