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[ SPACE ] / Good Morning Mr. Orwell (1984) – MUST SEE

[ SPACE ] / Good Morning Mr. Orwell (1984).

In 1984, the idea of live satellite links was still fresh in people’s imaginations, and on New Year’s Eve,   Nam Jun Paik and Paul Garrin pulled together an incredible line-up of avant-garde artists (e.g. Laurie Anderson), composers (John Cage), writers (Allen Ginsburg), dancers (Merce Cunningham) along with pop culture stars and TV hosts for a mind-boggling hour of video-art bricolage, live hardware video effects, and ostentatious haircuts.

You can’t find this video in full online (there’s a little excerpt of one of Laurie Anderson’s performances below) so you’ll have to go to see it installed at Space Studios in Hackney before March 5th. Be warned though – it’s hidden behind an exhibition of very bad paintings. Worse still, whoever installed it decided to show the video simulteneously on a series of 4 monitors, linked with video signal relays, each with a progressively weaker signal until the 4th monitor is just static. I suppose it’s some kind of ‘sculptural’ gesture to accentuate the novelty of live satellite broadcast in 1984 – but it’s idiotically distracting from what is otherwise an amazing slice of pre-cyberpunk digital art.

Highly recommended, especially for you, Toby. The excitement of the presenters and artists about the simultaneously broadcast event says a lot about how liveness, digital effects and mediation has gone from novelty to norm in the last 20 years.

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