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Nam June Paik «Random Access Music»
Nam June Paik, «Random Access Music» Exposition of Music – Electronic Television, 1963
Photography | Photograph: Manfred Montwé | © Nam June Paik
"INDETERMINISM and VARIABILITY is the very UNDERDEVELOPED parameter in optical art, although this has been the central problem in music for the last 10 years, (just as parameter SEX is very underdeveloped in music, as opposed to literature and optical art.)" Nam June Paik

 Nam June Paik
«Random Access Music: Exposition of Music – Electronic Television»

Since the early 1950s, avant-garde composers have been using magnetic tape to obtain a spectrum of sounds far exceeding the canon of conventional instruments. Obviously, musical notation was worthless in such cases, and Cage developed randomly determined, graphical scores allowing various noises to be assembled into complex tape compositions. In this tape installation, Paik went one step further: the visitor can use the sound head, which has been detached from the tape recorder, to interactively run through the tapes glued to the wall, and constantly vary the sound sequence according to location and speed. This random access to the musical raw material enabled visitors to produce compositions of their own.