My essay titled “Notation and Eternity in Symphonie No. 5 and Liberation Sonata for Fish” has been recently published in the exquisite new catalog, Nam June Paik: I Expose the Music, by Spector Books. This catalog serves as a companion piece to the exhibition of the same name, currently being showcased at the Museum Ostwall at the Dortmunder U in Germany. The exhibition highlights the pioneering work of video artist Nam June Paik, emphasizing live moments and musical aspects that defined his artistic journey. The exhibit is curated by Rudolf Frieling from SFMOMA, in close partnership with the Museum Ostwall.
In this essay, I aim to analyze the concept of eternity in Nam June Paik’s Symphonie Nr. 5 and Liberation Sonata for Fish, by exploring their formal and conceptual layers. Paik’s scores offer insights into the numerous possibilities for their interpretation, based on his objectual and textual instructions. Moreover, the materiality of the scores’ form is highlighted as a complex assemblage of constantly evolving matter. Through this analysis, the scores’ material condition presents an ontology of openness and indeterminacy, while also portraying a material-bound aesthetic of decay that may suggest finitude or closure. Throughout this essay, I will explore these themes and offer insights into Paik’s artistic vision.
The catalog is available for purchase at Spector Books here.