Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Nam June Paik / Allen Ginsberg Boulder Connection

Now that the semester is over, I am about to start developing my newly commissioned art work as part of the AND Festival and the London 2012 Olympics.

The first set of meetings and series of trips scouting locations in the Northwest of England took place in February. While I was there I saw an excellent retrospective of Nam June Paik's work at FACT and the Tate in Liverpool. It included multiple versions of Paik's TV Buddha, much of the art, material and documentation from his first-ever "electronic television" exhibition in Wuppertal in 1963, and his hypnotic laser cone art.

Paik's work has been instrumental in my recent practice-based research and theoretical investigations into the transformational aspects of video as an aesthetic/semiotic medium that enables one to experiment with signal processing and glitch performance. My writing on Paik can be found spread throughout this blog, and much of it has been remixed into "Artist, Medium, Instrument (The Nam June Paik Remix)," which is the third chapter in my forthcoming remixthebook now available for pre-publication ordering.

After a viewing a lot of Paik's video art that day in FACT's media lounge, I was genuinely surprised by how much he had collaborated with Allen Ginsberg. There is a work entitled Allan 'n' Allen's Complaint that features Allen Ginsberg and Allan Kaprow. According to Electronic Intermix, "In Allan 'n' Allen's Complaint, the influence of Jewish fathers on their sons and the complexity of familial relationships are explored in a witty, poignant portrait of two artists." Ginsberg, whose network poetics I remix into "Mind Bank Network (The Allen Ginsberg Remix)" as chapter two in remixthebook, appears in many of the experimental videos created by Paik that I viewed at the UK retrospective. Perhaps most interesting to me was that in Allan 'n' Allen's Complaint, Paik "take[s] the viewer on a journey from the Mideast (where Kaprow performs his Stone Happening and makes an ice sculpture in the desert), to a New York poetry reading with Ginsberg and his father, to Boulder, Colorado, where Ginsberg's companion Peter Orlovsky plays his banjo." I had no idea that Paik came to Boulder as part of his video art work featuring Ginzy. All of a sudden, parts of remixthebook are taking on added resonance as my own extemporaneous theories play with the remixological potential of intermedia collaboration, the programmatic blurring of art and life, and the psychic move toward prophetic illumination.

Since my visit to the UK a mere two and half months ago, I have spent a great deal of time back home in Boulder, and I am trying to imagine just what exactly it is that draws so many leading edge artists and designers into its vortex. Yesterday I tried to count how many incredibly talented artists and designers have passed through Boulder in the first four months of 2011 and who I have had the luck and pleasure of hanging out with. These magically appearing international and national artists and designers, most of whom shared their experimental work composed in an endless melange of hybridized media environments, were in the scores. I had to stop counting when I got to forty.

And now, lucky me, gets to go check out the scene in the UK and meet and/or reconnect with many more artist-accomplices. In addition to starting production on my new art work with a small cast and crew, I'll be hanging out at Future Everything, so if you will be there too, drop me a direct message on my Twitter:

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Tags: Nam June Paik, Mark Amerika, Allen Ginsberg, Allan Kaprow