Categories 21st Century Media Practice, Art

Art & the electronic Superhighway 2016-1966



The Electronic Superhighway is a back to the future, historical exhibition, displaying over 100 artworks and the impact of computer technologies and the Internet. South Korean Artist Nam June Paik originally coined the term Electronic Superhighway. He forecasted the idea of a global connection through the use of technologies back in 1974. The Exhibition starts with the technologies that we are familiar with in 2016 and takes this technical dreamscape back all the way to 1966 and finishes with “Experiments in Art & Technology” (E.A.T). EAT was an iconic art movement that took place in 1966.

The exhibition illustrated to me what technology meant to the different generations of artists who were exhibiting. One of the art works that reminded me of my childhood was by Celia Hempton live chartroom painting.



A backside greets you with iMessages speaking out of the backside, with a random conversation. Suggesting the idea that we are all just talking out of our arse.

As a child who grew up in the dawn of the computer, the Internet and the pixel, I was allowed to experiment and be experimented with. This exhibition represented a visual timeline12791074_1535299146800453_6156244114420882740_n of my own experiences. In some respects it acted as a catalyst for memories and stimulating thought.

The child’s desk with the iPad and the vintage windows open of eBay, google and yahoo, reminded me of growing up and seeing these unsmooth pixeled images of websites and companies that have grown to been so embedded in our lives. I didn’t even question that it was on iPad, but then thinking about it, we are still viewing the same content, just on different platforms. Have we really moved on?

The smashed 90’s beige computer on the floor, with a glitched-out screen of binary code, reminded me of the gaming aggression of males, which was always talked about growing. Gaming makes you angry, gaming is aggression. More than likely gaming was frustration.

Paik was right in his thinking of technology & connection. We are in the time of a technology revolution. The rate at which this technology is adapting, integrating, mapping, assisting is revolutionising existence and making connection, distances and contact, less.


The philosophy and predictions of this artist have transpired to be true. This reflection and prediction of technology through his artwork is apparent. Paik used video and image based technology. It has had a hermetic and continual impact on media culture, specifically in the latter part of the 20th Century. He was a keen user of the single channel videotape and expressed these with installation and sculpture formats. Electronic moving image had to have new meaning and by using abstract imagery to express representation of the future, this was key to his work. Temporal image is key method for artists to express and develop new skills and strategies. To understand this, we, as an audience need to look at the historical change and interpretations of these changes in moving image, which is central to our visual culture.


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