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CK: Has Paik's dream of an electronic artist network been realized with the internet?

JH: There's a dynamic dialogue between artists and technology and artists are challenged by new media developments. A historical look back over the 20th century, from the moving image and invention of cinema to the development of the electronic image and interactive art shows a fundamental transformation of our visual culture. The history of the arts will be rewritten through the moving image. Paik predicted we'd become a media culture. This springs from ideas articulated with Paik's first show at the Galerie Parnass in Wuppertal, Germany in 1963. Here he is with Global Groove 2004 in Berlin, returning to Germany with a new work and celebrating the medium he first took on. Back then, there was no Porta-Pack, there was just television - Paik broke into it and transformed it.

CK: As video art becomes established, has it become complacent?

JH: Video art was a radical transformation of an institution: television. The Porta-Pack recorder was seized upon by Paik and other artists as a new instrument and tool. Video became an accepted and accessible medium; it fused digitally with film. But video also bears a relation to new media and installation, developments Caitlin has been involved with in points of radical departure. Within that history, there's a continuing challenge and transformation.



John Hanhardt and Caitlin Jones

CJ: Video artists are often working as installation artists, the moving image has become another tool and an important part of the language. There are also fragility issues inherent in video and its presentation. At the Guggenheim a group called the Variable Media Network is looking to artists to guide us in terms of how they want their work created in the 70s to change over time to set parameters for exhibition.

CK: Caitlin, you wrote about Paik's proposal of a "Video Common Market" where, as Paik said, the goal was to "strip the hieratic monism of TV culture and promote the free flow of video information through an inexpensive barter system or convenient free market." In what way does the internet deliver this promise and in what way is it failing?

CJ: It opens more channels for distribution, but as we see in the music, peer to peer file sharing, we won't see that kind of free flow of information.

CK: As you've said, we're in a "post- Napster world."

CJ: It's a hot issue. One of the most interesting things is this concept of copy-left or Creative Commons, which is a copyright-licensing group started in 2001. Housed now at Stanford Law School , they've come up with a concept for artists, musicians and software developers

to register a legally binding agreement that states to varying degrees, "my work is to be shared forever, it is free for whomever wants to use it, it is never to be copyrighted, you can take this piece and do with it whatever you want." It's opening up, in a positive way, sharing information.


Global Groove 2004 at Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin: setting up the exhibition.

CK: That's the true use of "public domain." Global Groove is described as providing "a glimpse of a video landscape of tomorrow." The concept of "tomorrow" is forever linked to the modernist dream of the 20th century, yet all those "tomorrows" have arrived, while the psychological and emotional transformation Paik hoped for is still to come.

JH: Paik thinks about tomorrow through his art. It's his fundamental humanism and playfulness in engaging an audience. He brought a new kind of electronic canvas to the moving image. Looking into the future, Paik sees all the parts reanimated by new ways of working with the moving image as it becomes part of our domestic environment. It's a utopian impulse.

CK: Caitlin, you've written about the elimination of the middleman and Paik's Video Common Market.

CJ: A very contemporary example of this not needing a middle man, can be seen with DJ Danger Mouse and the Grey Album, where he took the Beatles' White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album and remixed them to be the Grey Album . He didn't release it as a CD, but free over the internet, and within a week EMI , who owns the rights to The White Album, ordered a cease-and-desist letter. The internet community banded behind him and had Grey Tuesday, where sites all over the internet offered the Grey Album for download. The middleman is definitely out there, but people are working at getting around it.

JH: There was a real sense in Nam June's community of sharing - it was very much a part of his generous spirit as a new generation finds ways to collaborate and expand.


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