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Nam June Paik — Tate Modern

One of my favourite pieces of trivia is that Nam June Paik is related to Ali Wong by marriage (a couple of times removed?). It is, admittedly, pitiful that all I knew about him was a piece of lame trivia and that he liked to work with television screens.

I’m the least adept person at trying to make sense of this, and often I find myself just wildly disinterested in the inclusion of new media in art. It perhaps carried on from my easily distracted baby brain, when we’d go around museums before I gave a shit about art, and saw some screens showing nothing I wanted to watch.

The case still stands that I have nothing profound to say about the Nam June Paik show, and it is because my brain is hard pressed to produce anything profound. Which isn’t to say that it carries on over to Paik. On the contrary, I was surprised and amazed and astounded at how far his explorations took him, in the realms of technology and music, the moving image and art.

The Sistine Chapel

I am sorry to have only gone to see this show on its last week on view. I would have very much like to spend time with it a little bit longer before its last day on the 9th of February. I think I’m going to go back there on Sunday, even though the crowds can be awful, just because it feels like he’s talking to you now, with work he’s done in the past, some of which were made 50 years ago.

I’m still stupid when it comes to the marriage of art and technology. I just can’t wrap my brain around it, and how they can coexist in a way that’s not a hard sell or too on the nose or just really fucking corny. Nam June Paik knew, though, and it was a delight to have witnessed it, even if it was in this small way.

Nam June Paik
Tate Modern, London
17 October 2019 — 09 February 2020
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