Season 8, Ep. 2: Nam June Paik


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For Saturday School Season 8, we are exploring Asian American sci-fi films. In this episode we explore the genre's prehistory, diving into the robots, Buddha livestreams, and fantastic futures of video artist Nam June Paik. We took a field trip up to SFMOMA, which is presenting a massive retrospective of Paik's work, on display until October 3. Paik is considered the pioneer of video art, and is credited with coining the term "electronic superhighway" in 1974, basically predicting the internet. So for episode 2, we get lost in his vision of a technological future. He was all about breaking down barriers between low art and high art, bringing sexuality and shenanigans into classical music, and stitching together the real and the virtual, leading to such oddities as TV cellos, TV bras, TV glasses, TV chairs and TV gardens. As a Korean educated in Japan and Germany before coming to the U.S., he also resisted labels of nationality and proposed through his art a more utopic global vision of the future.

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