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Themesicon: navigation pathSound and Imageicon: navigation pathSound & Vision
Video Synthesizer und ‘TV-Cello’ Collectibles (Paik, Nam June; Yalkut, Jud), 1965Vidium (Hearn, Bill), 1969

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industrial-technical shift from sound to image that was in evidence even in Edison's day, and that makes audiotape into videotape.

As soon as the first equipment came on the market, Paik hurled himself at video technology and announced programmatically in 1965: «It is a historical necessity, if there is such a thing as historical necessity, that a new decade of electronic television should follow the past decade of electronic music.« [25] But the video equipment the industry produced was not enough for Paik. In 1970, he and his technician Shuya Abe started to build his own «Video Synthesizer», with the support of a TV station. With this he is now able to manipulate electronic images and liberate them from the TV aesthetic to make them into artistic material that can be formed freely. Just as half a century before Walter Ruttmann had built his film apparatus so that he could work with film like with brush and paint, Paik now announces: «Someday artists will work with capacitors, resistors & semi-conductors as they work today with brushes, violins & junk.» [26] The video synthesizer, like the audio synthesizer used in music, is intended first and foremost for live use, according to Paik it is to be


played «in real time—like a piano. This is extremely interesting from a purely artistic point of view—something really new, that never existed before. You simply play and then see the effect.»


The video synthesizer was first used in the live TV broadcast «Videocommune» in 1970, on WGBH Boston. Paik and the station team improvised for four hours, even inviting passers-by from the street to join in with making a TV broadcast spontaneously. This makes joint improvisation, which is usual in music, possible with images as well, providing a new collective creativity model for the pictorial arts. The Beatles' complete works supplied the soundtrack for the four hours of «Videocommune.» Here Paik was anticipating many elements of the music clip.

Paik was not the only artist who worked on making video synthesizers at this time. There were large numbers of do-it-yourself enthusiasts, artists and musicians who were fascinated by electronic synaesthesia. [28] Most of the time modified audio synthesizers were used for processing images, as in Bill Hearn's 1969 «Vidium.» So even before digitalization it

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