Publication Details

Ballard, S. (2013). Nam June Paik, cybernetics and machines at play. In K. Cleland, L. Fisher and R. Harley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Symposium of Electronic Art (pp. 1-4). Sydney: ISEA.

Link to publisher version (URL)

The University of Sydney - Proceedings

Additional Publication Information

ISEA2013 is an international festival of electronic art and ideas that will take place in Sydney, Australia. Presented by the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT), ISEA2013 will showcase a selection of the best media artworks from around the world and provide a platform for a lively exchange of future-focused ideas. ISBN: 9780646913131


Nam June Paik’s playful, imperfect and often ambiguous use of cybernetics has left an important legacy for contemporary media art. Paik’s works demonstrate that it is essential to temper aesthetics with ethics in order to question the utopian dreams of the very materials electronic artists work with. Paik’s works also suggest a new way to think about the machine in art. This paper focuses on the impacts of communication and control in the machine (and subsequently the network) in Paik’s Robot K- 456 and suggests a reconceptualization of Paik’s cybernetic machine as a machinic process enmeshed in communication systems.