Nam June Paik, 20th Century Man
Nam June Paik
Born 1932, Seoul, Korea
Died 2006, Miami, Florida
20th Century Man, 1996
Collection of Edward Frank and Sarah Ratchye
20th Century Man is a veritable history of twentieth-century media devices from the phonograph and the radio, to the television and the computer, which Nam June Paik used to assemble one of his family of robots. Paik’s robots are metaphorical contraptions, which playfully illustrate “the extension of Man.” If in the last century, these devices extended our human capabilities while artists such as Paik extended the boundaries of art, in the twenty-first century this intersection of art and technology has fused into an “edge condition” of cyborg vision, virtual geography, and software intelligence.