Tech POV


Preserving Nam June Paik’s Work

Nam June Paik (July 20, 1932 – January 29, 2006) was a Korean American artist who is rightly considered to be the father of modern video art. Nam June was a hero, mentor and friend who taught me many things. Perhaps the most important being that creating art and keeping a sense of humor about it go hand-in-hand. (A philosophy embraced by the composer Robert Ashley, who is also sorely missed.)

From 1981 – 1997 Nam June worked with video artist and social activist Paul Garin. Paul took a gig as Nam June’s assistant and ended up being one of his most important collaborators, producing hundreds of works together. We basically gave Nam June and Paul a key to Post Perfect to work on art projects — one of the charms of working the night shift was running into them. The picture below is of Nam June (left) and Paul (right) having a video jam session in Post Perfect’s linear edit suite number two.

Unfortunately, many of Nam June’s pieces are falling into disrepair. This is particularly true for the multi-monitor sculptures, or “robots” as he called them, as they were created with vintage analog consumer television gear. These are failing and must either be repaired (very hard) or replaced with digital displays that maintain the look of the originals (even harder). Paul presented a paper on this topic in Seoul last week — click on the picture below to read the text of it. Bottom line: time is running out to preserve these magnificent works. If you’d like to help the restoration effort please contact Paul at: pg(at)

Nam June Paik and Paul Garin
Nam June Paik (left) and Paul Garin (right) at Post Perfect, circa 1992
Winkler Consulting Inc.