Fin de Siecle II
Not on view
Video installation, 207 television sets with seven video channels
Overall: 168 × 480 × 60in. (426.7 × 1219.2 × 152.4 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Laila and Thurston Twigg-Smith
Rights and reproductions
© Nam June Paik Estate
To create the monumental Fin de Siècle II, Nam June Paik edited and reconfigured sequences from previously broadcast television programs and art videos, drawing out formal commonalities and patterns in seemingly disparate images. He thus liberates the moving images from their original contexts. Paik used televised programs as his medium but also programmed the work itself to arrange the image sequences in a predetermined composition. Fin de Siècle II reflects how programming saturates and shapes our world, both through media content and through the underlying technological mechanisms that structure and transmit such content.
Utilizing 207 video monitors in scaffolding and seven video channels Fin de Siecle II is one of Nam June Paik’s largest video walls. Six of the video channels show Paik’s silent image-processed video collages with various themes. The seventh—what Paik called the “Main Channel” and the only video with sound—is displayed on 64 monitors, forming the center-core of the installation. Three videos dominate this main channel: artist Rebecca Allen’s computer animation commissioned by Kraftwerk for their music video Musique Non-Stop (1986); David Bowie singing Look Back in Anger and dancing with Louise Lecavalier and her company LaLaLa Human Steps (recording from Paik’s 1988 satellite link-up project Wrap Around The World); and Paul Garrin’s Nude (1989) with music by Philip Glass, which contains a reference to Paik’s own performance piece Violin with string (1961). Other shorter videos include excerpts from Merce on Merce by Paik (1978) featuring Gera’s Kizomba, Festa da Raça and Joseph Beuys performing together with Paik in 1984 at the Sogetsu Hall in Tokyo.