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The Cohabitation of Technology Nature and Culture: Nam June Paik


People depend on technological tools to digitally access cultural content in this technological era. The cohabitation between technology and nature makes us feel good by bringing our humanity’s inborn affiliation with the environment. The development of technology changes the culture which produced it. The context of the culture affects the way technology is adopted, and its diffusion to other cultures also changes those cultures—technologies. What determines technology is the current demands and preoccupations of culture. For technology and culture to cohabitate, it depends on the existing environment of society. In his work, a Korean Artist named Nam June Paik showed the cohabitation of technology, Nature, and culture, among other things.

Nam June Paik was born in the 19th century in Korea. However, Nam June Paik and his family had to move to Hong Kong following g the start of the Korean war (ArtistInfo, 2022). Paik had an interest in music, and so he moved to German, where he met George Maciunas and John Cage. June Paik gave his first performance in 1962 in the movement called neo-Dada. Paik later became a pioneer in the art based on technology (Artist info, 2022). In 1965, he was the first to use a portable video camera. By 1970, Nam June Paik used a magnet to distort images and show abstract forms on Television. To achieve this, Nam June Paik designed a synthesizer that made colored videos that could combine the images (Kelly 2021). While living in New York in the year 1979 to1996, Paik pusrsued a teaching profession Staatliche. Major expositions of his artistic work are at the American museums, namely Whitney and Solomon R. Guggenheim. This research paper talks about the contributions of Nam June Paik to contemporary art in cohabitation with technology, nature, and culture.

How Nam June Paik’s work addresses Technological advances.

Nam June Paik tried within his ability to humanize technology in the field of arts. Nam June Paik is well known as the inventor of video art and also worked in the field of music and video installation (Kelly 2021). Nam June Paik understood how TV images would radically change our perception of how we view the world. In this case, he altered a cathode image leading to the transformation of its appearance to obtain visual scratches.

In 1960 Nam June Paik was associated with an international art movement. The movement wanted their art to be recognized, so they asked the authority of high museums to do the task. Looking at Paik’s work, Television has made his work outstanding compared to other statutes and paintings hanging on the wall. Paik created anti-technology at the service of technology to go against the planetary communication images.

Paik strove to alter how the TV sets looked. Nam June Paik considered Television as an artistic medium, but before that, TV sets were con regarded as pieces of furniture. As years passed, Paik extended the use of TV to artistic expressions and videos. The aim was to make the TV sets like sculptures and installations suitable for broadcasting modified images. Some of Paik’s famous works on TV are TV Buddha (1974), Magnet TV Cello, TV Bra for Living Sculpture (1968), and cello TV. Paik also showed a program that showed monitors and live plants on TV. Different images and sounds showed on each monitor. Due to this act, museums will achieve a strange harmonious environment.

Nam June Paik was also among the first people to show experimental videos in the early 1960s. During that time, the most exciting form of expression was video art. Paik invented the use of the video camera and TV screens (Kelly 2021). During In Paik’s first solo exhibition, he exhibited 13 manipulated TV sets, and he was also the first artist to associated with the use of Television as a medium. Paik’s visit to New York produced video footage of the popePaul six. The video was solely a work of art done by Paik. However, when media is trying to transform from old to new, the old media will delegate because people are accustomed to their way of living and do not like adapting to change.

Many artists in the new generation have been using video due to its intrinsic and volatile properties. Artists mimic traditional art forms, such as p-painting in moving images. The video component created by Paik has made it possible to visualize various audiovisual manipulations (Kelly 2021). Due to technological advancement, contemporary video artists have been able to edit film sequences easily.

Nam June Paik received credit for the first use of the term electronic superhighway. This term meant that electronic media gave us something we did not know. The main components of this electronic superhighway was one closed-circuit television feed, custom electronics, sound, and wood. The electronic superhighway illustrates how Paik used technology to interpret a diverse nation (Kholeif et al, 2016). Therefore, we can see how Paik’s work addressed some of today’s technological advances.

Nam June Paik had uncanny prescience in creativity and technology. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art clarifies that Nam June Paik has achieved more than just inventing is m video art. (Kelly 2021)This review looked at the artist’s practice that has succeeded in bringing technology to the human experience. Their findings were that Nam June Paik succeeded in humanizing specialized experience by developing experimental art practice. In 1963, Paik started using television art, marking his transition from music to an electronic image. Some of Paik’s work, such as the TV chair of 1968 gave intimacy to TV and video. The works were able to change technology into props and body appendages, thereby bridging the gap between technology and human experience. Also, the TV Buddha, one of his familiar series, showed a connection between technology and human spirituality through Buddha sculpture.

How Nam June Paik sees technology and humanity cohabitating harmoniously.

Nam June Paik stood for humanity in a world full of the Screen (X-TRA 2022). Nam June Paik sketched new machines that blended new forms of representation with ancient religion. In the mid-1960s, Nam June Paik worked with some scientists to create digitalized works with computers. Nam June Paik felt that the artist’s role was to secure a place for humans against media transmissions and digital flows. Nam June Paik’s exhibition of ”becoming a robot.”

Asia shows how the artists’ work anticipated the technologies in our contemporary age.

The innovation of Paik on humanity regarding the use of technology explores a space which people today call ”post human’ ‘ Paik’s work in robotics maintains a condition of embodiment. A remote-controlled robot was among his earliest works in the show, and Paiks aim was to make it with human functionalities. Another work of June Paik that shows cohabitation between technology and humanity is theTV chair. This show was about a closed-circuit camera and a seat that showed the person sitting on the chair below the end. This work, in a way, embraced ”aliveness ”as projected by the nature of body experience. By this act, Paik suggests a place of reference for artificial life as a post-human whose view of the mind changes from the hierarchical frame of mind over the body.

The wearable sculpture of Paik reflected a world view of Buddhist and Cartesian consciousness. They are connected physically and to human bodies. Parks express certain forms of human machines integration by referring to Bina Rothblatt. The form of human-machine Paik articulated raised doubts about the post-human and holistic point of view. However, the human machine’s brain, hardware, and conscience are located within the embodiment. The action shows that the presence of a body is necessary to breathe life into organs that are not organic. Animated objects that Nam Juan Paik created at some point came to rest since they belonged to display within a museum.

Paiks also showed the cohabitation of technology and humanity through music (Ha 2016). Music is a way of passing information and also helps in nourishing our culture. Research shows how June Paik communicated through music. The study of his art that is interactive has gained insight over the years. The first solo show that Paik presented was in the Paik exposition of electronic music television. Paik also stopped studying in Munich in order to find a more advanced music, and in the process, he acquired both new and traditional music (Olivier 2017).

He liked to explore new things in his music, as was seen in the song Sistine chapel, which won the golden lion award. The researcher also had an aim of exploring Paik’ career side that most people dint pay much attention to. Assistant curator named Andrea Nitsche saw some value in the music examples of Paik, and they could play a significant role in the music of other cultures (Olivier 2017). Paik used objects and prerecorded sounds in making his songs which he called Action Music. Paik did a series of actions while on stage, like buttoning and unbuttoning a button leaving the audience charmed by his actions. The actions amazed the audience, and through his art, Paik was able to bring humanity closer to technology.

Another work that shows the artist’s cohabitation of technology and humanity is the Paiks family of Robot (1986). Paik used cathode ray television for media transmission to build Robot’s mother, child, and father family robot. The sculptures signified a family unit, and the videos played on them implied a particular personality in each of them. Also, some of his performative objects of Paik emphasized our sexual nature. One of the performative objects are the TVfor Bra Living Sculpture (1975). TV bra is well known as the female-centered technology and treats maleness as the default. They show augmentation of the body as opposed to flesh obsolescence. The creation of robots, families, and sculptures on TV for Bra shows a relationship between technology and humanity (X- TRA 2022).

The TV Buddha, one of his familiar series, showed a connection between technology and human spirituality through Buddha sculpture. Paik’s cheerful humor and aesthetic approach made several exhibitions access Paik’s interest as a celebrity. The show called good morning Mr. Owell was internationally broadcasted and established Paik’s cultural context alongside several artists and musicians (Ha 2016). The show revealed the technological ambitions and limitations of its era. The article also tells a story about the cultural identity of Paik and how it can make us understand the phrase ”become a robot” in this digital age (Holling 2013). Also, Paik’s collaboration with Zen clearly articulates his capability to bridge the canons of East and West to create art that diffuses multiple traditions. It is also easy to notice Paik’s work in robotics because it maintains the condition of embodiment. In this case, we see Paik’s ambition changing from a transhumanist idea to embracing the mess that comes with being alive. In his futuristic mission, Paik emphasized the role of embodiment and messiness.

Nam Juan work as a vision of the future

Paiks work proved how machines would be able to retain the best aspects of the past while prospecting future innovation. Nearly all Parks pieces are linked to technological processes that we see today (Mallencamp 1995). Paik always believed that technology would give us the chance to invent new things and make life easy. Here are some of Paik’s contributions that predicted the future we live in today.

  • Internet

As early as 1974, Paik imagined the internet we use today as a series of tubes that would create electronic superhighways and be something big (Kholeif et al, 2016). He projected that this electronic superhighway would create electronic communication in robust range transmission and bundled coaxial cable. Paik wrote the above plans for the Rockefeller foundation. He predicted that this type of invention would have higher benefits in terms of its product than the moon landing (Holling 2016). Even today, people are still struggling to understand the magical abilities of the internet. At one time, US senator Ted Stevens described the internet as a ”series of tubes.’ ‘ Paiks prophetic embrace of technology termed it as a conference via color video telephones among different people. So he predicted face time, skype, and zoom. Nam June Paik urged people to participate in media, which has become part of modern life today.

  • Massive Open Online Courses

The malleable Television and videotape invented by Paik are of great importance today (Harnhadt2006). Traditional higher learning education is slowly drifting away from them due to the various courses offered online. The Massive Open Online courses are the best since they offer rigorous coursework from the best professors worldwide through the internet. Massive online courses are flexible in terms of scheduling time and also create a more comfortable learning environment to study from anywhere. The service also saves on the cost to the students. We can say that Paik authored online education when he submitted his proposal of ”Expanded Education for the Paperless Society” and anticipated an ”instant global university” today (Paik2006). We see the rise of online education from the websites khan academy offering many courses to users.

  • Special Effects

In collaboration with engineer Shuya Abe in 1969, Paik created the Paik Abe Synthesizer. The machine was able to distort both live and preexisting videos (Harnhardt 2006). The synthesizer helped Paik move videotapes and television programs, creating a fast-moving image (Kelly 2021). Paik predicted the future of video as a medium of art in conjunction with special effects. Paik described that the special effects would shape the TV screens as colorfully as Renoir and as lyrically as Jasper Johns. Usually, artists like to think about what will happen in the future and fail to make reality out of their dreams. Today, Paik’s work of video distortion and special effects is pictured in movies to create a harmonious surrounding for both the actors and the audience.

  • Cable Television

One of Paik’s most renowned is a global groove of 1973. The show was a hint of how the future of Television would hold up. Paik said that the show was a glimpse of how TV guides will be fast and people will be able to shift to any station available on the TV. These days we see the use of remotes as easy and fast as the Manhattan phonebook. The modern wireless cable television has made scrolling through the channels easy, with a hundred channels.

  • Google Glass

Many people see Paiks art of dynamic human interaction with video screens as foreign. For instance, his art, called the TV cello, was adorned with modified sunglasses. In this era, technology has become part of life and has made life easier. The modified sunglasses seen today are the origin of google glass (Holling 2013). The modified sunglasses operate as a video screen enabling users to search the internet, take photos and play games via the screen. The sunglasses work if they are embedded into the lenses of the eyewear. Paik’s TV glasses serve as a prototype of the modern modified glasses.

The glasses also serve as optical heads for optical head-mounted displays. Nam June Paik’s futuristic compassion-based argument on humanity. The recent exhibition by Nam June Paik called becoming a robot shows how the artist’s work anticipated the technological debates of our contemporary age. Paik articulates dominance by working in both the United States and Germany. As a Korean artist working in Germany and United States articulates dominance. Paik’s approach to body interface technological way considers a speculative future that offers insight today.

  • Satellite broadcasting

Satellite broadcasting uses artificial satellites to transmit television programs to power suitable for direct reception. Paik knew those good artists needed to embrace technology and know the extent of the past and the current world. During the early 1970s, there was a rapid decrease in cable TV, which was replaced by satellite broadcasting. Paik, being an opportunist, took advantage of the technological transformation at that time by producing numerous televisual art (Holling 2013). Paik always kept in mind that a satellite artist must compose his art from scratch, taking care of a suitable physical condition and grammar. Due to Paik’s past knowledge regarding technology, Paik was able to predict the potential future of technology and how it would benefit artists.

  • Self-facing camera

Paik believed that the invention of the camera would change the scene by giving everyone a chance to make and share art. Standing Buddha, with an outstretched hand, is made of Buddha. The exhibition begins with Buddha facing four televisions placed on top of one another. Two of these televisions showed colorful images while the other two sowed an image of the statute (Grr 2017). Today, the self-facing camera, called the selfie, has become a popular aspect of modern life. The selfie has given the artists capacity and visual reflection due to its amusing subjectivity. Unlike today selfie was reserved for professional photographers and portraitists.

  • Iconic Art Work

Unlike other artists who created portraits using paints, Paik used Stacked TVs. A prominent exhibition from the Stedelijk collection is TV Buddha. A wooden sculpture tends to watch itself on modern Television while typically following the Buddhists’ philosophies on Paik’s technological approach (Kelly 2021). Using this exhibit, Paik imagined a future where technology played an integral part in the natural world.

Another vital piece of work by Paik is the TV chair. (Harnhadt 2000) In this show, Paik’s interest deviates from embracing the messiness of being alive. In his show, a circuit that is closed and shows an image of a person sitting in a chair. As a person who sees the future, the unique art of Paik embraces aliveness.


The emergence of technology has become a pervasive influence in our society by influencing how we create and appreciate art. Technology expands the horizons of an artist’s creativity and makes production more accessible. History shows that artists have always wanted to have unconventional mediums to express their artistic work.

Nam June Paik was a globally recognized artist and was born in South Korea. The Korean artist succeeded in living in the West as he also lived in Japan, Germany, and the United States. According to Paik, technology was a way to interact with people from different countries. He was the first artist to use visual art. Paik created a new artistic medium with Television and created a wide range of artwork. Nam June Paik’s work addresses technological advances.

Nam June Paik is the artist who invented video art, and also Paik altered a cathode to obtain visual scratches. Paik also used TV as an artistic medium for artistic expressions and videos. Nam June Paik also receives credit for the first use of the term electronic superhighway.

As shown in this paper, Nam June Paik technology also cohabitates harmoniously in several ways. He stood up for humanity in the screen world and felt that an artist’s role was to secure a place for humans against digital flows. Also, the Paik wanted to make a remote-controlled robot with human functions. Paik suggests a place for reference for artificial life as post-human changes from the hierarchical frame of mind over body. Lastly, Paik’s family of Robots that he created displayed a perfect picture of a family.

Nam Juan’s works have been extended and explored in today’s modern technology in several ways. Paik’s contributions that predicted how we live today include the internet, Massive Open Online classes Paik projected as expanded education for the paperless society, and the special effects we see in movies today, continuing Paik’s work. Other ways are still used to date, though with more advanced technology, including satellite broadcasting, google glass, cable television, and self-facing camera.

In conclusion, we can say that Nam June Paik’s work addressed technological advances and that technology and humanity cohabitate harmoniously. From the contributions of Jam Nam Paik’s work in technology, I agree that his work was a vision of the future.


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Standing Up for Humanity in a World of Screens (Published 2019). (2022). The New York Times.

Olivier Lussac. (2017, November 21). The Media Machine: the Nam June Paik Archives. Research Gate; Open Edition.

Paik, N. J. (2006). Expanded education for the paperless society. Paletten.

Molenkamp, P. (1995). The old and the new: Nam June Paik. Art Journal54(4), 41-47.

X-TRA. (2022).

Hölling, H. B. (2013). Re: Paik. On time, changeability and identity in the conservation of Nam June Paik’s multimedia installations.

Ha, B. (2016, June 13). An Origin of Interactive Art: Nam June Paik’s Progressive Musical Instruments.

‌Hanhardt, J. G. (2006). Nam June Paik (1932–2006) Video Art Pioneer. American Art20(2), 148-153. (2017). Nam June Paik – The Future is Now.

Kholeif, O., McCormack, S., & Butler, E. (Eds.). (2016). Electronic superhighway: from experiments in art and technology to art after the internet. London, UK: Whitechapel Gallery.

Hanhardt, J. G. (2000). The Worlds of Nam June Paik (p. 30). New York: Guggenheim Museum.


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