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Moving Meditation: Paik Nam June’s TV Buddha and Its Zen Buddhist Aesthetic Meaning

Authors
  • Lim, Tae-seung1
  • 1 Sungkyunkwan University, Academy of East Asian Studies, 25-2, Sungkyunkwan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 110-745, Korea , Seoul (South Korea)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Dao
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Jan 12, 2019
Volume
18
Issue
1
Pages
91–107
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11712-018-9643-5
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

The aesthetic spirit in Paik Nam June’s video art, TV Buddha, originated in the aesthetics of Zen Buddhism, and the parameters that established Paik’s aesthetic comprised the indigenous Eastern aesthetic idea of dongjing 動靜 (movement and stillness). Yi 逸 (unconventional naturalness) is the paramount aesthetic in Zen Buddhism, suggesting the transcendence of preexisting tracks and conventions. Paik’s behavioral music, to which he was dedicated before pioneering video art in earnest, was related to yi in terms of the complete aspects of forms, themes, and so on, evidently under the influence of avant-garde musical composer John Cage. The Zen Buddhist aesthetic—and Paik’s artistic motto—is to capture the essence of the self and the world through the destruction of stereotypes. Paik’s artistic uniqueness lies in his attempts to combine his traditional culture and spirit—the culture and ideas of Korea and Eastern Asia—with cutting-edge technology. The hallmark of Paik’s video art can be understood as a suggestion of philosophical subjects guided by the interrelation between a graphical presentation on a TV screen and the whole installation setup. The philosophical subject in TV Buddha is Zen Buddhist meditation symbolized in the structure of dongjing.

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