Nam June Paik, ‘Rain Inside Heart (Snow)’, undated, Nam June Paik Art Center

It ‘rains’ inside a heart at the center of the monitor. Countless different patterns in white move ceaselessly and repetitively, fast and slow, which imbues the heart with a feel of vitality. Adding ‘snow’ to the title, Paik implies that this work is about white noise, alias dictus, ‘snow,’ meaning white dots and waves in disorder on a television screen when tuned in to channels that broadcasting stations do not use, or when there are no broadcasts. While the white patterns that look like a result of random-number generation by a computer are falling down, the heart itself is getting bigger and smaller, and the colors inside and outside the heart are changing as well. In the middle of the video, the abstract patterns are replaced by figurative images from Paik’s previous videos, which are in distorted and shaken forms as if by signal disturbance, and with certain velocity. That the patterns resembling white snow and the deformed figurations difficult to identify roll inside the heart as a vessel, seems to reflect what cybernetics may call the dialectical relationship between control and indeterminacy. “It rains in my computer, as it rains in my heart.” (Nam June Paik, 1968)

  • Excerpted from Seongeun Kim, Nostelgia is an Extended Feedback Nam June Paik Art Center (Yongin: Nam June Paik Art Center, 2012), P.162

About Nam June Paik

Considered the father of video art, Nam June Paik pioneered the use of televisual electronic media in art. An integral member of the Fluxus movement alongside John Cage and George Macunias, Paik sought new modes of artistic expression and cultural exchange in his music, performances, and media works. Paik recognized the TV as more than a content delivery mechanism in works such as Zen for TV, a broken television broadcasting only a horizontal line across the screen. He created numerous robots composed of television sets, produced a synthesizer that allowed him and others to manipulate electronic imagery in real-time, and made the first video collages with found imagery. Coining the term “the electronic superhighway,” he imagined a world in which human beings near and far would be connected through radio waves and television broadcast channels—in many ways predicting the internet. Paik explored the widening reach of media in his large-scale video installations that display an assault of flickering of images and masterpieces like Good Morning, Mr. Orwell, a groundbreaking live performance broadcast on television in five countries on January 1, 1989, which offered a utopian answer to Orwell’s bleak predictions for the future in his classic novel 1984.

South Korean, 1932-2006, Seoul, South Korea