My new essay “Notation and Eternity” published in Nam June Paik: I Expose the Music, by Spector Books

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.

You can download my essay here in English and here in German

The catalog is available for purchase at Spector Books here.

Book Presentation: Object-Event-Performance

Wednesday, February 22, 2023, 5 p.m. CET / 11 a.m. EST

The SNSF research project Performance: Conservation, Materiality, Knowledge, in collaboration with the SNSF research project Activating Fluxus, is pleased to host a public presentation of the book titled  Object-Event-Performance: Art, Materiality, and Continuity Since the 1960s (2022; ed. by Hanna B. Hölling). The event will take place within the Research Wednesday seminar series.

Much of the artwork that rose to prominence in the second half of the twentieth century took on novel forms—such as installation, performance, event, video, film, earthwork, and intermedia works with interactive and networked components—that pose a new set of questions about what art actually is, both physically and conceptually. For conservators, this raises an existential challenge when considering what elements of these artworks can and should be preserved.   This event features a book that revisits the traditional notions of conservation and museum collecting that developed over the centuries to suit a conception of art as static, fixed, and permanent objects. Conservators and museum professionals increasingly struggle with issues of conservation for works created from the mid-twentieth to the twenty-first century that are unstable over time. As participants in conservation, the contributors to this volume—often non-conservators—form a community of practice that share common interests.

Speakers include: Hannah B Higgins, Gregory Zinman, Andrea Gyorody and Megan Metcalf. Moderator: Jules Pelta Feldman.

The book asks what it means to conserve artworks that fundamentally address and embody the notion of change and, through this questioning, guide us to reevaluate the meaning of art, of objects, and of materiality itself.  Object-Event-Performance considers a selection of post-1960s artworks that have all been chosen for their instability, changeability, performance elements, and processes that pose questions about their relationship to conservation practices. With chapters by Hannah B Higgins, Hanna B. Hölling, Gregory Zinman, Andrea Gyorody, Alison D’Amato, Megan Metcalf, Rebecca Uchill, Susanne Neubauer, Beryl Graham and Johannes Hedinger, this book aims to become a welcome resource on contemporary conservation for art historians, scholars of performance, dance, theater and museum studies, curators, and conservators.

The book has been published by Bard Graduate Center, within the series Cultural Histories of the Material World (series editor: Peter Miller) and is available from the University of Chicago Press (PDF and cloth).