Zen for walking / 걸음을 위한 선

Performance, Documentation
In 1961, Nam June Paik conducted a performance to walk around while dragging a violin tied to a string on the street of Cologne in Germany. This is called "Zen for Walking," or "Violin with String (Dragging a Violin on the Street)." Afterwards, Paik did similar performances many times over ten years, and the last one took place as part of the 12th Annual Avant-Garde Festival of New York in Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field Park in 1975. Paik also staged "Zen for Walking" at his first solo exhibition, "Exposition of Music - Electronic Television" in Wuppertal in 1963. Photographs taken by Manfred Montwé show Paik slowly walking around in the exhibition while dragging different objects like a spoon and a toy car's axle, including a violin, all tied on to a string. For the Cologne performance in 1961, what were used are not only a violin but also chained worn-out sandals, a small bell, and a carved stone head. Paik said that when you dragged a musical instrument, it produced beautiful sounds; but this performance means more than just the sounds made by trailed objects. Its implications are in line with Paik's philosophical idea that runs through his oeuvre. He dragged a string nonchalantly in a relaxed manner, and this connotes "Zen," performed by means of the linearity of a string - the Korean words for "Zen" and "string" are homonyms.
Featuring: Violin