Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii
- Nam June Paik, born Seoul, Korea 1932-died Miami Beach, FL 2006
- Gallery Label
- Paik predicted, in 1965, that "someday artists will work with capacitors, resistors, and semiconductors as they work today with brushes, violins and junk." Over the decades, his own work stayed in constant conversation with how new technologies reshape the world. Electronic Superhighway playfully engages three such forces--the US interstate highway system, cable television, and the emergent internet of the 1990s.
- In this TV map, neon-outlined states play a mix of borrowed and original footage. Each distinct channel reveals Paik's associations with or understanding of that state. Some video collages draw from personal connections, like Paik's recordings of longtime collaborator and cellist Charlotte Moorman filling the screens in her home state of Arkansas (along with images of then president Bill Clinton, also from Arkansas). Others incorporate existing media representations, with the movie musical Oklahoma! filling Oklahoma, and edits from a documentary on the 1950s Montgomery bus boycotts echoing from Alabama. A closed-circuit camera marks Washington, DC, where gallery visitors can see themselves in real time. This suggests the map is also a portrait, reflecting how media and mediation shape views of ourselves and each other at national, regional, and individual levels.
- Audio Note: Synced television sounds match a handful of states' channels, so the audio spreads and blends across the length of the map. At different moments, various soundtracks become louder and dominate; at other times it is a noisy collage. The appropriated movie musicals--Oklahoma! in Oklahoma, Meet Me in St. Louis in Missouri, and The Wizard of Oz in Kansas--are each audible when standing nearby and as their songs reach a crescendo. Uniquely, the audio related to the Montgomery bus boycotts, which includes speeches by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., plays through speakers on both sides of the map, not just near Alabama, making it the most prominent and legible part of the sound mix.
- Credit Line
- Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist
- © Nam June Paik Estate
- Object number
- Restrictions & Rights
- Usage conditions apply
- Media Arts
- fifty-one channel video installation (including one closed-circuit television feed), custom electronics, neon lighting, steel and wood; color, sound
- approx. 15 x 40 x 4 ft.
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- Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
- Time-Based Media Art
- Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Landscape\United States
- Object\written matter\map
- Record ID
- Metadata Usage (text)
- Not determined
- GUID (Link to Original Record)