Nam June’s Spirit Was Speaking To Me - Seoul
2017, 21:42 min.
Nam June’s Spirit Was Speaking To Me by Aki Onda was commissioned by Documenta 14’s radio art series called Every Time A Ear di Soun. From Documenta’s catalogue: “New York-based artist and composer Aki Onda has channeled the spirit of late Korean artist Nam June Paik via radio transmission. Paik is known for his association with shamanism, a practice that constantly surfaces in his works. With a portable radio in hand, Onda communicates with his spirit over long distance, collecting field recordings of cryptic broadcasts/messages on anonymous radio stations. The series of séances, conducted in different cities across the globe, began in Seoul in 2010, and continued in Köln, Germany in 2012, Wrocław, rostwaf Poland in 2013, and Lewisburg, USA in 2014." Aki Onda adds, “Nam June’s Spirit Was Speaking to Me occurred purely by chance. In 2010, I was spending four days at Nam June Paik Art Center in South Korea for a series of performances and had plenty of free time to wander. The building was packed with Paik's artwork and related material. I have always felt a close kinship with him as an artist, and so it was a great opportunity to immerse myself in his works and ephemera. It was that night I made first contact, via a hand-held Sony Walkman radio in a hotel room in Seoul. It was literally out of the blue. Scanning through the stations, I stumbled upon what sounded like a submerged voice and I began to record it in fascination. I concluded this was Paik's spirit reaching out to me.... These recordings became a way for me to explore the mythic form of radio and gesture back to Nam June Paik's shamanism. Radio as a medium is full of mysteries. The transmissions captured seem to be "secret broadcasts" on anonymous radio stations. There are in fact hundreds of those stations around the world, although the numbers dwindle as clandestine messages can now be sent via encrypted digital channels. Some of these stations were likely for military use or espionage or relics of the Cold War. But many others continue without apparent explanation. These are just some of the questions that remain unanswered.” The Wave Farm Radio Art Archive features the first iteration of Nam June’s Spirit Was Speaking To Me recorded in Seoul, South Korea. - Described by Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow 2019/2020, Karen Werner.