, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 91–107 | Cite as

Moving Meditation: Paik Nam June’s TV Buddha and Its Zen Buddhist Aesthetic Meaning

  • Tae-seung LimEmail author


The aesthetic spirit in Paik Nam June’s video art, TV Buddha, originated in the aesthetics of Zen Buddhism, and the parameters that established Paik’s aesthetic comprised the indigenous Eastern aesthetic idea of dongjing 動靜 (movement and stillness). Yi 逸 (unconventional naturalness) is the paramount aesthetic in Zen Buddhism, suggesting the transcendence of preexisting tracks and conventions. Paik’s behavioral music, to which he was dedicated before pioneering video art in earnest, was related to yi in terms of the complete aspects of forms, themes, and so on, evidently under the influence of avant-garde musical composer John Cage. The Zen Buddhist aesthetic—and Paik’s artistic motto—is to capture the essence of the self and the world through the destruction of stereotypes. Paik’s artistic uniqueness lies in his attempts to combine his traditional culture and spirit—the culture and ideas of Korea and Eastern Asia—with cutting-edge technology. The hallmark of Paik’s video art can be understood as a suggestion of philosophical subjects guided by the interrelation between a graphical presentation on a TV screen and the whole installation setup. The philosophical subject in TV Buddha is Zen Buddhist meditation symbolized in the structure of dongjing.


Paik Nam June TV Buddha dongjing 動靜 (movement and stillness) yi 逸 (unconventional naturalness) Zen Buddhist meditation 


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This paper was supported by Samsung Research Fund, Sungkyunkwan University, 2014.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Academy of East Asian StudiesSungkyunkwan UniversitySeoulKorea

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