Random Access is a theme Paik addressed frequently throughout his practice. As early as 1963, when Paik presented his groundbreaking Exposition of Music Electronic Television
, the concept of Random Access was present throughout and was even the title of one of the works. Of the many works Paik presented that were innovative in the way they questioned how viewers could engage with art as well as with information in general, Random Access
and Record Shashlick
were the most direct presentations of this ambition for a paradigm shift in information retrieval that was led by the viewer and yet arbitrary.
“Human beings have not really learned how to structure time-based information in recording and retrieval very well, because it is new. No one says that the Encyclopedia Britannica is boring (…) because you can go to any page of the encyclopedia, to A or B or C or M or X, whereas when you watch videotapes or television, you have to go A, B, C, D, E, F, G. While the comparison is simple, the difference is very big. (…) until electronic information conquers the random access problem.”
Nam June Paik, 1980
Currently, access to electronic information is no longer determined by a time-based structure thanks to developments in CD and mp3 technology as well as the internet. Now that the ‘random access problem’ described by Paik appears to have been ‘conquered,’ revisiting issues such as participation, chance and indeterminism often addressed by Paik’s thinking and work could offer alternative perspectives into the potentialities they entail.
Aiming to develop curatorial strategies in keeping with Paik’s spirit, the Nam June Paik Art Center has attempted to avoid pre-structuring the audience’s experience of the works it presents. Not restricting the audience’s liberty to access the works randomly and a non-hierarchical non-linear display have been ways to avoid placing emphasis on any particular work or establishing the special status of a masterpiece.
The Random Access
exhibition is an effort to push this concept further. To this aim, the first temporary exhibition for 2010 will be opened alongside a completely restructured ‘permanent exhibition’ that will reflect new findings resulting from research undertaken by the NJP Art Center. Conducted over the past two years these findings will also be presented in parallel with the catalogue The Return of Nam June Paik
. Additionally, the permanent exhibition will also incorporate many of the new acquisitions the NJP Art Center has worked on to build a solid base for its collection. German collector Eric Andersch’s complete Nam June Paik Art Collection consists of important objects and early works like Audiotape Reels
from 1958/62, but also provides the art center with the most important posters and documents of Paik’s early years in Germany like Fluxus Island, Exhibition of Music
(1963) or the Aachen 1964 poster. From Mary Bauermeister’s collection the art center acquired important early letters Paik exchanged with her, as well as the first rehearsal scrolls Paik made for his performance Zen for Head
. An additional 2009 acquisitions highlight is the first ever chandelier made by Paik – Video Chandelier Nr.1
(1989), acquired from a German TV station.
For the first temporary exhibition of the 2010 program, shown on the second floor, Nam June Paik Art Center curatorial team has chosen six pieces from important works or texts by Nam June Paik and produced an exhibition around each of them that establishes connective constellations with other artistic practices. Paik’s practice and thinking is taken as a starting point for research into his influence on his contemporaries as well as more recent arts practitioners. Conceived to present material, in all media, by well known and emerging artists alongside each other, all six exhibitions will present different approaches to the work of Nam June Paik and promise to propose new, exciting and potentially controversial readings of some of Paik’s most challenging ideas.
Random Access includes works by Nam June Paik and, among others, Helena Almeida, Nobuyoshi Araki, Clayton Campbell, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Taeyoon Choi, Martha Colburn, exonemo, Gazebal , Thomas Hirschhorn, Min-Jung Kim, Tammy Kim, Minouk Lim, Bruce Nauman, Yuri Suzuki, Wolf Vostell, Yangachi.
The Nam June Paik Art Center is supported by Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation and Gyeonggi province.
Nam June Paik Art Center
85 Sanggal-dong, Giheung-gu,
Republic of Korea
T: + 82 (0) 31 201 8543
F: + 82 (0) 31 201 8515