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Nam June Paik Art Center Announces Its 2024 Exhibition Line-up for 40th Anniversary of ‘Good Morning Mr. Owell’

Still Image of Nam June Paik, Good Morning Mr. Owell (1984) ©Nam June Paik Art Center

The Nam June Paik Art Center (Director Namhee Park) has set as its vision for 2024 a “museum of togetherness connected by art and technology” with the core values of ‘hyper-connectivity,’ ‘heritage community,’ and ‘polyphony’. The year 2024 marks the 40th anniversary of Nam June Paik’s monumental satellite live broadcast project Good Morning Mr. Orwell (1984), and Nam June Paik Art Center will launch major exhibitions and projects in 2024 united by the work’s message of “global communication” and connected vision.

First, the exhibition opening in March, “Wake Up! It’s 2024” (March 21, 2024-February 23, 2025) examines the value of world peace, the ultimate goal of Good Morning Mr. Orwell. Inspired by George Orwell’s novel 1984 (1949), which foresaw a media-surveillance society, Nam June Paik’s Good Morning Mr. Orwell is a rousing show featuring dance, song, poetry, and comedy from around the world with more than 100 artists, capturing the hope for a brighter future rather than Orwell’s dystopia. For Nam June Paik, television and satellite were technologies that connected cities and allowed people from different time and space to meet.

The exhibition title “Wake Up! It’s 2024” refers to the title of the song “Wake Up! It’s 1984” by the American band Oingo Boingo, which was performed live in Good Morning Mr. Orwell, and is reset to the year 2024, examining how we respond to new technologies and surveillance societies 40 years ago. The exhibition studies and examines Good Morning Mr. Orwell in a more three-dimensional way, calling attention to the values of planetary solidarity and peace in response to 2024. The alternative K-pop group Balming Tiger will participate in the exhibition, presenting music, dance, and videos with a peaceful spirit.

Still Image of Nam June Paik, Good Morning Mr. Owell (1984) ©Nam June Paik Art Center

Second, “Big Brother Blockchain” (March 21-August 18, 2024), which opens on the same day, marks the 40th anniversary of Good Morning Mr. Orwell and re-examines contemporary art in response to the rapidly changing digital environment. In today’s world of virtual digital environments such as the metaverse and the rapidly changing technologies emerging from artificial intelligence, people are looking at them with a mixture of fear and enthusiasm. Nam June Paik saw January 1, 1984 as an opportunity to reply to George Orwell, who predicted a bleak future of technological civilization, “You are only half right.”

Forty years later, in 2024, the museum will ask what kind of future we can read from the contemporary technological environment. Participating artists Minki Hong will reinterpret the role of the emcee who introduces Nam June Paik’s Good Morning Mr. Orwell in the current cultural context, while Cho Seoung Ho will install a structure that functions as both a surveillance post and a safe house.

In addition, Seo Young Chang will explore the relationship between increasingly personalized multi-channel media and ‘surveillance and control’. HWI will sing about a situation in which the prospect of the future is superimposed on the past, creating a sense of déjà vu, and will be accompanied by Hito Steyerl’s Factory of the Sun (2015) and Samson Young’s Altar Music (Liturgy for an Indecisive Believer) (2022).

Third, “NJP Commission” (September 12~December 15, 2024), which will be held in September, aims to capture the direction of the museum by discovering artists who address and speak about contemporary social agendas based on the artistic spirit of Nam June Paik, and producing and exhibiting new works.

In particular, the exhibition will explore the relationship between technological civilization and human life on the 40th anniversary of Good Morning Mr. Orwell and will showcase the artist’s creative thoughts on the contradictions of an era where communication and war coexist through technology. The exhibition will be organized as a production project of new works by three artists.

Previous winners of the Nam June Paik Art Center Prize: Camp (2020), Trevor Peglen (2018), Blast Theory (2016), Harun Mirza (2014), Doug Aitken (2012), Bruno Latour (2010), Eun-Me Ahn·Lee Seung-Taek·Robert Adrian X·Ceal Floyer (2009)

Fourth, last year, the Nam June Paik Art Center revamped its international art prize award system and will resume the art prize in 2024. The International Art Prize, which was organized under Nam June Paik’s name seven times from 2009 to 2021, is currently the only ‘international’ award system for public art museums in Korea. The Art Prize, which has presented contemporary media trends through the award and exhibition of talented artists, will select the winner of the Art Prize in 2024 and organize the winner’s exhibition in 2025.

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