Nam June Paik, a Korean artist, who got interested in music and art and went to Germany from Korea. Cologne, that’s where he studied, it was in Europe that he met George Maciunas of Fluxus Movement because George was helping his father in Wiesbaden, Germany. His father was railroad engineer, worked in for the American army and that is where George organised the first Fluxus Festival in the fall of 61. And they had met already because George had already organised little events, Fluxus events before that. There were already a good number of them involved in that festival. And them George moved to New York and began organising events here and Nam June Paik moved to New York. I guess he had about finished his studies.
George was opening AG gallery on Madison Avenue in 74th or 5th Street and around that time that I met, of course, Nam June Paik. And we did some, later we did some events of our own together because, sort of political events, because I think now- that I do not know. I think that he comes from the part that became North Korea and that is why he was very much, you know, for like free Korea and I, of course, was for free Lithuania so we used to travel like Cincinnati some other places and he would read United Nations Charter in Korean and I would read in Lithuanian and that was our political Fluxus performance.
In any case, we remain friends. Of course, he now happens to be paralysed, spends a lot of time in Florida. I met the other day, was passing by, Broadway and Spring Street and he was there, sitting in a chair and watching the street, and I, of course, video-taped him, but he has been very active in Fluxus and the related sort of, that could be all described as Fluxus events. He did one of his last performances actually was at Anthology Film Archives about five- six years ago. The repeat of his event, “The Destruction of the Piano” where he sort of destroys slowly by pushing the piano and he plays some and then- those pianos of course are always purchased from storage places of of old unusable pianos. Some people think that they are perfectly good; they are never perfect pianos. Actually his school, primary school buddy who became later president of Lithuania and who is was very instrumental, actually, in the destruction of Soviet Union when he confronted Gorbachev that is Landsbergis they were with George Maciunas together on the same bench at school and corresponded and Landsbergis sent some Fluxus compositions. When Landsbergis was at that event at Anthology Film Archives, he happened to be in New York and he was appalled – and he’s a musician you see, he’s a composer and pianist, Sokurov made a film with Landsbergis when he just became president, a short film that they are playing on piano and there is a line of telephones because he had to you know deal with all the developments in the world and he’s there with the piano and then he so he was very appalled and you know he found out that those pianos were already not useable any more. Then, of course, he you know his work with Charlotte Moorman, the police was always a little bit you know perse- very close to his activities and there were several arrests made with Charlotte Moorman at performances.