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Re: <nettime> The Premature Birth of Video Art
Andreas Broeckmann on Wed, 17 Jan 2007 21:36:17 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> The Premature Birth of Video Art

dear tom,

thanks for the minute description of the history of video cameras and 
their use by artists.

as far as i am concerned, the history of video art starts not with 
the use of tape and camera, but with the manipulated TV sets that 
Paik showed in 1963 at Galerie Parnass in Wuppertal ("Exposition of 
music - electronic television") - amongst them =92Zen for TV'. As is 
well-known, in the same year, Paik's colleague Wolf Vostell, also 
represented by Galerie Parnass at the time, shot at a running TV 
during an exhibition opening, and presented his first  
=92TV-D=E9collagen' in New York vor.

depending on your definition of 'video art', these works and actions 
may or may not qualify as such. however, they are certainly 
important, early moments in what can, in this instance, be 
meaningfully described as 'media art'. paik's critical understanding 
of TV (both the technical and the social system) as a medium, which 
again he shared with Vostell who was even more involved in a critique 
of the contents of television than Paik was, sets him apart from some 
of his contemporaries. in that sense it could perhaps be argued that 
Paik has never been a 'proper' video artist in the narrow sense of 
the word, given that he soon abandoned tape and camera.


ps: on the night before the opening of transmediale.07, i.e. on 29 
january, the Akademie der Kuenste in berlin will be commemorating 
paik with a long hommage programme - if you want to go, make sure to 
get there early, these events tend to sell out, despite the 
comfortable size of the building on pariser platz.

>The Premature Birth of Video Art
>by Tom Sherman
>It is said that the late Nam June Paik was the George Washington of video
>art. Paik, a Korean-born artist, educated in Japan and Germany, is given
>credit for recording and exhibiting the very first work of video art in
>New York, NY, in 1965. (...)
>So the myth of Paik's first work of video art appears to pre-date its own
>possibility. While Paik undoubtedly was a pioneer user of portable video
>equipment, he probably shared the original moments of video art with other
>artists, including Frank Gillette, Ira Schneider, Les Levine, and Juan
>Downey. The mythic story of Nam June Paik shooting the first
>Portapak-generated video art out of the back of a taxi in 1965 is
>apparently just that, a myth.

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