Keeping Ageing Technology Alive- Smithsonian Learning Lab Activity

In July, I visited the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) in Arizona. I had the privilege of Laura Spalding-Best, the Exhibition Manager, giving me a tour of the artworks on display. While showing me Nam June Paik’s “Electro-Symbio Phonics,” Best made a comment that peaked my interest in the problem-solving curators and art handlers face to show his work. Best mentioned that when SMoCA received the artwork, it came with 20-30 spare Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) TVs for when TV monitors malfunction. I had never considered the complications that can arise in presenting and maintaining his work, as well as, other media art.

Through the Smithsonian the Learning Lab, I researched the lengths curators, and art conservationists go to, to keep ageing technology alive. It is absolutely fascinating the problem-solving, creativity, and innovations involved to display the artwork of Nam June Paik, the father of media art. I created a collection on the Learning Lab that allows students to make predictions on how many TVs are needed for Paik’s artwork, to learn about the properties of CRT-TVs, and to plan a media art piece that can adapt to new technology.

Please email me or comment if you have feedback on my collection, “Keeping Ageing Technology Alive.”

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Paik, Nam June. Nam June Paik Archive. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.,