Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Good Morning, Mr Orwell
Thirty years ago today (January 1, 1984 - sic), video-pioneer Nam June Paik conceived of and presented "Good Morning Mr Orwell", a unique and unprecedented international live satellite hook-up, linking up the studios of WNET, New York with the Pompidou Center in Paris (as well as hooking up with broadcasters in Germany and in his own home country, South Korea). Allen and Peter Orlovsky (along with Steven Taylor and Arthur Russell) were an integral part of the program, which also featured contributions from John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Joseph Beuys, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Peter Gabriel, Charlotte Moorman, The Thompson Twins and Oingo Bongo. George Plimpton appeared as master of ceremonies.
Peter's contribution is suitably bizarre in that it was introduced with a technical conceit that never actually materialized (the "space yodel"? - where, what happened to the "space yodel?!). We also, prior to that, catch a glimpse of John Cage, stroking dried cactus plants with a feather, making careful and delicate music. Peter performs enthusiastically on banjo (a hearty version of "Feeding Them Raspberries To Grow", Allen gleefully singing along.
The entire show (including Allen's memorable performance of "Do The Meditation") may currently be viewed here.