Research project, ECAL 2021


(Re-)Viewing Paik

(Re-)Viewing Paik is a joint research initiative between Switzerland and South-Korea that involves Prof. Patrick Keller from ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne (HES-SO), Dr. Sang Ae Park from the Nam June Paik Art Center and archives (NJPAC) in South Korea, and Dr. Christian Babski from fabric | ch, an architecture and information technology collective based in Lausanne.

The main long-term objective of this joint and interdisciplinary research, based on the archives of Korean artist Nam June Paik (1932–2006), is to establish novel types of online exhibition curating and design, which must take shape digitally at any viewer's (visitor's) place or housing, and to virtually populate it, in an autonomous way. The results of this initial joint work, which will take the form of a functional "demo" (proof of concept), will be used in parallel to formulate a more detailed research project which will then be submitted to a national funding agency.

This research combines new artificial intelligence/machine learning techniques (AI/ML) and automated rule-based design, or computational design (CD), with augmented reality displays (AR) on personal smart phones or tablets, in order to set up personal digital museums, “viewing rooms” and galleries. These latter are then experienced in an immersive way (both AR, VR and projections are possible), respecting a relationship of scale between the viewer and the artworks, from any remote location and from the viewpoint of the visitor, while being autonomously tailored to it.

(Re-)Viewing Paik thus offers an innovative and personalized form of remote exhibition, while the research results remain dedicated to both curators (“tool side”, or server side) and online visitors (“exhibition side”, or client side). In particular, they are linked to the valorization of media art forms and archives, which are naturally adapted to digital screens and displays, while they nevertheless seek a versatile and immersive potential in the ways they are presented to the public.

The Nam June Paik archives, located in Yongin (Seoul Capital Area), are an exceptional and almost perfect case study for these objectives, as the main purpose and relevance of the research is to provide access to a selected part of the Nam June Paik archives (and later, by generalizing, to the entire archive or to any type of digital art, or digitized art content). This is unique opportunity for a practice-based research, and for importing innovative insights into the algorithms of the automation tool to be further elaborated, temporarily entitled Atomized (algorithmic) Functioning.

Main applicant

ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne
Patrick Keller (project leader)
Sang Ae Park (Nam June Paik Art Center)

Research team
Christian Babski (fabric | ch), lecturer and researcher

Nam June Paik Art Center
fabric | ch

October 2020 – September 2021

Supported by 
ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne
Swiss Bilateral Programme of SERI / Leading House Asia - ETHZ
Nam June Paik Art Center
fabric | ch

N. J. Paik, TV Buddha (1974), digitally remade. Early tests for the digital transposition project (Re)Viewing Paik (2021)

© ECAL / Patrick Keller