Is More Really Better?

Dadaikseon, also known as The More the Better, is Paik’s largest art installation, which was built exclusively for the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Gwacheon (a suburb of Seoul). Getting to the museum is no easy feat, but the piece definitely makes the trip worthwhile.

Paik build this massive cake-like tower of 1003 television sets in commemoration of Seoul hosting the 1988 Summer Olympics. The seemingly odd number of TV sets is actually representative of October 3rd, Korea’s National Foundation Day (Gaecheonjeol).

The installation seems to speak volumes about a couple of important elements: First, South Korea is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and while 1988 was not representative of the developed infrastructure or high-income economy of today, it was certainly a vastly different and much-improved world than the one Paik left nearly 40 years earlier. Second, aside from his 1984 satellite broadcast, Good Morning, Mr. Orwell, no physical artwork of Paik’s existed in his home country prior to the creation of Dadaikseon, which also went on to be featured in his third global broadcast Wrap Around the World in 1988.

Thus, the piece is not only representative of Korea insanely fast move from an underdeveloped country into a commercial powerhouse, but it is also indicative of Paik’s presence and adoration by those in his home country. Paik had the social, political, and economic means to flee the country at the brink of the Korean War, which allowed him to leave behind an anti-nationalist sentiment; however, he did became one of the most influential voices in the development of media art and culture, and his Korean roots were clearly evident in much of his art.