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The avant-garde composer and inventor of video art, Nam June Paik, was born on 20 July 1932 in Seoul, Korea, the fifth son of a textile manufacturer. He studied history of music at the Universities of Tokyo and Munich, and composition at Freiburg. He met Stockhausen and Cage, and worked in the electronic music studio at WDR Köln in Germany, and at WNET's TV lab in New York, USA.
In 1963 he participated in the first exhibition involving TV monitors, and was soon experimenting with electromagnets and colour TV, exhibiting electronic art and building multi-monitor installations.
His Electronic Opera No 1 was performed in the live programme The Medium is the Medium on GBH-TV, Boston.
With Shuya Abe, he constructed a video synthesiser in 1969-70. In 1988 he built a media tower from 1003 monitors for the Seoul Olympic Games, and in 1991-2 his double exhibition Video Time - Video Space at Basel and Zurich was also shown in Dusseldorf and Vienna. Other works include Opera Sextronique (written for cellist Charlotte Moorman and performed topless) and hommage à john cage (during which two pianos are destroyed).
He gained numerous awards and grants, including the Kyoto Award, and he died in Miami, Florida, USA, on 29 January 2006.