The Nam June Paik Art Center is hosting the Good Morning Mr. Orwell 2014 exhibit curated by Sohyun Ahn and Sooyoung Lee. The art show is dedicated to Nam June Paik’s 1984 namesake performance. A satellite project in response to the predictions featured in Orwell’s novel in which the writer had anticipated, as early as the 1940s, phenomena like Big Brother and the control that regulates our affections and lives today. At the time of his performance, Paik proclaimed that Orwell was «only half-right». This said, he used his performance to demonstrate the positive potential derived from a specific type of media use. And so, on 1 January 1984, Paik and the other 30 members of his team united 100 artists and 4 television artists working on different programmes dealing with a variety of themes such as fashion and comedy.
Satellites were broadcasted in real time in New York, Paris, Berlin, Los Angeles and Seoul. An estimated 25 million spectators tuned in and the event was documented by its official photographer Lorenzo Bianda. Freedom was now in opposition with control. The potential of this means was temporarily torn away from politics and the power of the industry and put into the hands of creativity. Paik’s message was very important at the time and still is today. Technological power has been grasped, understood and monopolized by the industry and politics (including religion). The same power can emerge from beneficial use on the part of the creative community. The exhibition at the Nam June Paik Center uses this very perspective as its departure point. It addresses 2014 in the same way Paik addressed 1984 and it is done by presenting a series of works by contemporary artists that the controlling networks and technologies used for creative purposes. The exhibition’s press release states: «Today’s global networking systems using the internet make both stronger controls and broadened freedom possible. This exhibition aims to ask about the possibility of making a new node and link to change this network as well as to pose a question of control/freedom that becomes more complicated and secret day by day».
Among the works on display: Disease and a Hundred Year Period by Sompot Chidgasornpongse, Seoul Decadence by Okin Collective and So Much I Want to Say by Mona Hatoum which single out freedom of expression. Other works selected for the exhibit include those by Paik’s former colleague Paul Garrin, who marked the beginning of the «viral-video» by documenting society’s irrationality, William Kentridge, Sanghee Song and Harun Farocki who used a CCTV camera to create his Counter-Music.
Good Morning Mr. Orwell 2014, Nam June Paik Art Center, 17.07.2014– 16.11.2014 . Artists: Lorenzo Bianda, Sompot Chidgasornpongse, Exonemo, Harun Farocki, Finger Pointing Worker, Paul Garrin, Mona Hatoum, William Kentridge, Taiyun Kim& Ji Hyun Yoon, Lee Boorok, Liz Magic Laser, Jill Magid, Bjørn Melhus, Okin Collective, Nam June Paik, Remove Architecture, Sanghee Song.
(cover e 1) Nam Jane Paik, Good Morning Mr.Orwell 1984, installation view, 1984 (2) Liz Magic Lazer, PR, 2013 (3) Good Morning Mr. Orwell 2014, Nam June Paik Art Center, exhibition view.