Widely recognized as the first video artist, Nam June Paik’s artistic career from the 1960s onwards is often understood through his pioneering appropriation of technological developments such as the television and video. Paik foresaw not only the aesthetic potential of video, but also other emerging technologies, such as robotics. While his work in robotic art is less commonly analyzed, it sheds significant light on his position not only as a foremost artist of new media but also on discussions concerning his ethnic identity. This essay demonstrates how, in the 1964 creation of robot K-456 and tv Bra for Living Sculpture, the artist deployed the strategy of racial recalibration—a racial formation that occurs through aesthetic tinkering, hacking, and recreating with emergent technologies that re-wires racial knowledge of the Asian American as robot.
DonovonThom. “A Grave In Exchange for the Commons: Black Commoning and the Resistance of the Object (with special reference to the work of Fred Moten).” Jacket 2 winter 2011http://jacket2.org/article/grave-exchange-commons#9.
NiuGreta. “Techno-Orientalism, Nanotechnology, Posthumans, and Post-Posthumans in Neal Stephenson’s and Linda Nagata’s Science Fiction.” The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States33 no. 4 (2008): 73–96.
SternFred. “Interview with Charlotte Moorman about Nam June Paik and The Originale.” YouTube video 9:51 excerpt from “Charlotte Morman and the New York Avant Garde” by Fred Stern filmed in 1980 under a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts posted by Fred Stern 16 July 2015http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiejdOlgcde.
Arthur SmithChinese Characteristics (New York: Simon2001) 108; James Amaziah Whitney The Chinese and the Chinese Question (New York: Tibbals 1888) 35; Erika Lee At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era 1882–1943 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 2003) 3.
N. Katherine HaylesHow We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics Literature and Informatics (Chicago: University of Chicago1999) 3. Weiner was also a participant in the Macy’s Conferences which promoted cybernetics in a series of significant annual gatherings from 1942 to 1945 in New York City.
Margo MachidaUnsettled Visions: Contemporary Asian American Artists and the Social Imaginary (Durham: Duke University Press2009) 29; Alexandra Chang Envisioning Diaspora: Asian American Visual Arts Collectives (New York: Timezone 8 2009) 5.
Yến Lê EspirituAsian American Panethnicity: Bridging Institutions and Identities (Philadelphia: Temple University Press1992) 176; Henry Yu Thinking Orientals: Migration Contact and Exoticism in Modern America (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001) viii.
Fred MotenIn The Break: The Aesthetics Of The Black Radical Tradition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press2003) 24; Thom Donovon "A Grave In Exchange for the Commons: Black Commoning and the Resistance of the Object (with special reference to the work of Fred Moten)" Jacket 2 winter 2011 http://jacket2.org/article/grave-exchange-commons#9.