Nam June Paik Tate Liverpool exhibition banner

Electronic Nature

Inspired by his Zen-influenced belief that innate distinctions between the natural and the technological would eventually and inevitably diminish, Paik combined television sets with natural elements such as live plants and fish in his large-scale installations. For Paik, the boundary between nature and technology was fluid and ambiguous, the two realms interconnected rather than contrasting or unrelated. In fact, by altering the functions and characteristics of new technologies, Paik’s art created an alternative technology that is closely linked to nature and its principles.

Paik stated: ‘my experimental TV is not always interesting but not always uninteresting. Like nature, which is beautiful, not because it changes beautifully, but simply because it changes’. Even in his most technically complicated and challenging works, such as TV Garden here and Moon is the Oldest TV, which can be seen in a later room, Paik clearly sought to use electronic and digital manipulation to echo and suggest the natural world, with its continual and unpredictable flux and change.