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      The Sound of Shamans in the Works of Nam June Paik and Early Korean Video Artists

      RE:SOUND 2019 – 8th International Conference on Media Art, Science, and Technology (RE:SOUND 2019)
      Media Art, Science, and Technology
      August 20-23, 2019
      Video art, Sound art, Shamanism, Nam June Paik, Korean video art, “kut”, “mudang”


            The Korean shamanistic tradition gave Nam June Paik’s works characteristically Asian cultural features, while western music provided him with audio-visual techniques. Undoubtedly, Paik’s work at West German Radio’s electronic music studio motivated his initiation of a new art form, video art, and invention of a video synthesizer with Shuya Abe in the late 1960s. One can trace the marks of Korean shamanism from Paik’s early works, notably his first video art exhibition, (1963), which featured a bleeding bull’s head. Paik analogized Fluxus Happenings to Korean exorcist rituals as performances in which the shamans communicate with spectators. Paik revealed his identity as an Asian in a series of shamanistic performances coupled with destructive avant-garde gestures. Interestingly, some early Korean video artists share the shamanistic features of Paik’s art. Among them are Hyun-Ki Park, Keun-Byung Yook, Hae-Min Kim, and Chan-Kyong Park. These early Korean video artists, like Paik, perceived a link between video images on monitors and the invocation of spirits in Korean shamanistic rituals. They regarded that artists are shamans or spiritual mediums connecting spectators and the invisible world. Unsurprisingly, then, the sounds and images of Korean exorcist rituals attracted Hae-Min Kim and Chan-Kyong Park whose works are specially reviewed here among other early Korean video artists. This paper focuses on shamanistic features in early Korean video art since Paik’s initiation of video art in the 1960s.


            Author and article information

            August 2019
            August 2019
            : 110-115
            [0001]Seoul National University

            #6-322 College of Humanities, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826
            © Kang. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of RE:SOUND 2019

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

            RE:SOUND 2019 – 8th International Conference on Media Art, Science, and Technology
            RE:SOUND 2019
            Aalborg, Denmark
            August 20-23, 2019
            Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
            Media Art, Science, and Technology
            Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
            Self URI (article page): https://www.scienceopen.com/hosted-document?doi=10.14236/ewic/RESOUND19.18
            Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
            Electronic Workshops in Computing

            Applied computer science,Computer science,Security & Cryptology,Graphics & Multimedia design,General computer science,Human-computer-interaction
            “kut”,Sound art,Korean video art,Shamanism,Nam June Paik,“mudang”,Video art


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