Zoom Buddha, after Nam June Paik

installation view


Gilded, inlayed wood 19th century Buddha, laptop, halo light ring


This piece channels the timeless work of video installation artist Nam June Paik. Communication technology has rapidly evolved since the creation of his legendary 1974 installation TV Buddha, yet the questions of self, humanity and media is relevant as ever. Zoom Buddha honors his legacy and reimagines his work in the present-day context: the pandemic, social media, streaming entertainment and virtual communication.


Background notes on Nam June Paik (1932 – 2006):  A pioneer and founder of video installation art, Korean artist Nam June Paik used video as a platform to observe the evolving relationship between technology with humanity. The Buddha, a symbol for contemplation and enlightenment, placed directly opposite a camera and television, icons of technology in the modern age. A lifelong practicing Buddhist, Nam June Paik creates art to question the role of self within an age that intersects spirituality with technology.  Each work in the series is comprised of a Buddha statue sitting opposed a camera and TV. The Buddha gazes at his own image on the TV screen, as the camera gazes back, in an everlasting staring contest that raises questions of self and humanity. Are we, society, defined by media? Has spirituality been negatively complicated by technology, or has it helped us become globally connected? 


photography by Jeff Cravotta