Interactive Art Based on Musical Genealogy: Nam June Paik’s Random Access
Byeongwon Ha / USA
Virginia Commonwealth University
Random Access (1963) is one of the earliest interactive art pieces, which incorporates an electronic interface in art. Compared to Paik’s fame in video art, his originality in interactive art was hardly examined in the history of new media art. This paper explores Random Access as a pioneering project in interactive art. Paik was ed- ucated in West Germany from 1956 to 1963. Based on his aca- demia in the center of music, Paik published several music articles for Korean and Japanese readers as a foreign correspondent. According to his articles about progressive music in Europe, Paik was inspired by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Schaeffer and John Cage when he started to create his own interactive project. His specific articles about these experimental composers reveal that Ran- dom Access shows a long-time development of a diligent academic artist. As a history of interactive art, this study traces Paik’s unprecedented creation, which made a significant transition from music to interactive art.