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We are in Open Circuits

Nam June Paik
Sternberg Press
22 × 29 cm
429 pp
Arts Writing

Essays, project plans, and correspondence from across Nam Jun Paik’s career, much of it previously out of print or unpublished.

Nam June Paik (1932–2006) is a pivotal figure in the history of modern art. Arguably the most important video artist of all time, and certainly among the most influential and prolific, Paik was a legendary innovator who transformed the electronic moving image into an artist’s medium. He wrote incessantly—corresponding with friends, composing performance scores, making production notes for television projects, drafting plans for video installations, writing essays and articles. Celebrated for his visionary development of new artistic tools and for his pioneering work in video and television, Paik often wrote to sharpen his thinking and hone his ideas. He used the typewriter to fashion sentences that broke apart and reassembled themselves as he wrote, producing both poetic texts and aesthetic objects on the page. This first extensive collection of Paik’s writings includes many previously unpublished and out-of-print texts.

Drawing on materials from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Nam June Paik Archive and from a range of international publications, We Are in Open Circuits offers important but long-unavailable essays, including “Global Groove and Video Common Market”; unpublished writings on such topics as his creative partnership with the cellist Charlotte Moorman and the role of public television; a substantial part of his compilation “Scrutable Chinese”; and detailed plans for some of his groundbreaking broadcast works, including the trio Good Morning, Mr. Orwell (1984), Bye Bye Kipling (1986), and Wrap Around the World (1988). It also includes nearly 150 pages that reproduce Paik’s original typed and handwritten pages, letting readers see his writing in various stages of inspiration and execution.


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