'My crazy uncle', Nam June Paik

Inventor Ken Hakuta remembers his uncle's approach to life, art and music lessons

He was a great uncle to have, because he wanted me to watch more TV!

Ken Hakuta

Nam June Paik was a visionary artist who foresaw the importance of mass media and new technology on the visual arts.

'He has really influenced not just the new generations of artists, but really popular culture', says his nephew, Ken Hakuta. 'He’s not just global as an artist, but he foresaw the globalisation of everything – art, commerce, travel – everything.'

'He was one of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century, continues curator Sook-Kyung Lee. 'He was really quite a visionary, using ideas like Electronic Superhighway and technologies such as television set, laser, CCTV systems.'

Hakuta recalls Nam June Paik as a great uncle because 'he wanted me to watch more TV. And I used to be a really bad piano student who had to take piano lessons. He took our family piano and destroyed it on stage, so no more piano lessons.'

Paik also left some lasting advice: 'my uncle told me, you should experience everything once, and I think he gave my mind great flexibility in thinking of everything backwards and forwards, sideways. And maybe that’s why I’m not shocked by many things in life, because I may have learnt that from my uncle.'

It was his experimental spirit and aesthetics which set him apart from other artists of the same age.

Sook-Kyung Lee, Senior Curator, International Art

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