For Paik      Yuji Takahashi
[I wrote this for the coming exhibition “Bye-bye Nam June Paik” at Watarium Museum.]

When Paik lived at Canal Street
there was an upright piano slant-suspended on the stairs to the attic
stuck high up on
The piano the western music for Asians good old popular classics
disturbing hanger-on
In a run-down bar joined us the cellist Charlotte Moorman
Three of us having less than two dollars altogether
shared a bottle of beer
I want to write a cello concerto for Charlotte
said Paik
of course on the Saint-Saëns Swan
the only repertoire in Charlotte-and-Paik performances
She played wearing the TV bra and sitting on a human chair
in Opera Sextronique at the Carnegie Recital Hall
arrested when topless even before bottomless ending
Charlotte died of breat cancer
the end of Swan Song

As for piano The Maiden’s Prayer
Not only playing on the upright piano
but also licking her pedals sawing her off
pushing her down to the ground
like the DV to a white girl
with whitewashed smile on his face

i was there at his first exhibit of the TV synthesizer
secondhand TV set attached mighty magnet
distorted images in rainbow fringe
Paik gives plausible view
to the curator of the Rockefeller Foundation
with whitewashed smile on his face

self-propagating TV sets
more transparent than the swan and reflecting as it is
the senseless world in the senseless display
Baek white Nam south Jun level his
black Dada nihilism with the Video ZEN reflecting the moon
tricking monde beyond East and West
Like Alice’s cat
his body disappears leaving that godlike
whitewashed  smile

"I am a poor man from a poor country,
so I have to be entertaining every second."

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