Video Commune (Beatles Beginning to End)

This restored collection of rare early collaborative works by Nam June Paik and Jud Yalkut is historically significant as well as remarkably prescient. Recorded between 1965 and 1971, these "video-films" reveal insights into the evolution of Paik's work in video, performance and installation, and are among the earliest explorations of the interfacing of film and video. They are marked by a playful, irreverent sense of improvisation and experimentation. Richly inventive and ironic, if at times technically crude, these experiments form a link between Paik's performance and sculptural works of the 1950s and early 1960s and the celebrated videotapes and installations of recent years.
These seminal pieces are informed by Paik's early experiments with image manipulation and synthesis, particularly in relation to performance and installation.
Subtitled "Beatles from Beginning to End," Paik's freewheeling collage was aired live on WGBX, Channel 44, WGBH's second channel. The images were generated directly from the Paik/Abe Synthesizer and mixed with prerecorded Japanese television commercials; the Beatles music was played chronologically ("from beginning to end") from 1/4" audio tape, with live vocal inserts.

About Nam June Paik and Jud Yalkut

Starting in 1966, the two pioneering media artists Nam June Paik and Jud Yalkut began to collaborate on a series of video-based works in which images and sounds had been electronically distorted; these video-films were early examples of appropriating and manipulating mass media footage as a form of cultural criticism. Their source material included clips from Beatles concerts, television commercials, news footage, and a conference featuring President Lyndon B. Johnson. Their approach was based largely in improvisation and experimentation, with undertones of humor and irony. Paik said that this newfound medium “will enable us to shape the TV screen canvas as precisely as Leonardo, as freely as Picasso, as colorfully as Renoir.”