Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Media, Art, and Text

First Advisor

Eric Garberson

Second Advisor

Stephen Vitiello

Third Advisor

Jennifer Rhee

Fourth Advisor

David Golumbia


Nam June Paik (1932-2006) is well known as the father of video art. However, this study demonstrates the importance of his earlier interactive art (1961-63), which historically has been overshadowed by his video art. At the climax of his career in interactive art, Paik introduced his two-way art to the public at his first solo exhibition in Wuppertal, West Germany, in 1963. Interactive art itself has been a peripheral area in the history of art, and it has plural pioneers across disciplinary boundaries. Among the several origins of interactive art, Nam June Paik utilized music as a fundamental approach to design the emerging art.

Concentrating on Paik’s music theory and practice in West Germany, my research traces the unexplored academic area of his articles about new music in the Korean newspaper Chayushinmun(1958-59). The perspective in his articles toward new music became a significant foundation for his progressive interactive art. Based on his music background, Paik knew how to incorporate musical instruments and devices into his interactive art. Finally, this study will articulate a concrete relationship between Paik’s musical experiences and his interactive art. It argues that his interactive pieces, based on his musical experiences, make him one of the most creative pioneers of interactive art.


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