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Keeping Ageing Technology Alive

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Mathematics +1 Age Level Middle School (13 to 15 years old)

Students will explore issues curators face to keep technology working to display artworks through looking at Nam June Paik’s work. Known as the father of video art, Nam June Paik used Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) televisions as a canvas for this artwork. Students will learn about the properties of the CRT-televisions that are vital for Paik’s work to be shown.  Students will use the graphing application Desmos to make predictions on how many CRT TVs are needed to keep Paik’s work on display so people around the world can enjoy it in person.  

This activity is designed for students to work in groups of 2-3 people. For the Desmos part of the activity, the teacher will need to make a copy of the activity and share it with his/her students so the teacher can access the students' work. The teacher can decide to use the Desmos portion of the activity with the students working in groups or individually. 


After looking at Nam June Paik's work students will explore Bill Viola's work with Plasma screens TVs as a canvas and problem solve how to adapt his work of the technology to keep it on display for years to come. 

Day 1: Slides 1-7 

Day 2 (or extension): Slides 8-10 

Extra resources: Slides 11-13


Student InstructionsTeacher instructions 

Slide 1: Nam June Paik Archive

Read the background information on Nam June Paik and the curator John G. Hanhadt

Slide 2: Thinking Routine description of Parts, Purpose, Complexities.

Read instructions

Make sure that the students choose one of the pieces to answer questions on slide 4

Slide 3: Electronic Superhighway

Student mode

In groups of 2-3 students will go through the Thinking routine

Parts, Purposes, Complexity

See Instructions allow students to share their observations.  

Slide 4: Megatron/Matrix

Student mode

In groups of 2-3 students will go through the Thinking routine

Parts, Purposes, Complexity

See Instructions allow students to share their observations.  

Slide 5: Cathode Ray Tube for Television

Go through the hotspots on the CRT, and watch the 5 min video on CRT, explaining the science behind

You can also have the students read more history on the inventors.

The history of TV

Electronic Dictionary


Slide 6: First TV RCA 630-TS

Data on the life span of RCA televisions, possibly looking at the amount of Samsung TVs that are needed for Nam June’s artwork.


“Life span and time that it can be used.

Replacement components

Back up CRTs

Commercial use

20k working hours”

Smithsonian Presentation of Paik's work

Slide 7: Desmos activity

Students can go to the interactive desmos link, the teacher will have to provide a class code to record the student work. 

Teachers will have to make a copy of this activity and sign into desmos using google or creating an account. 

Slide 8: Bill ViolaRead information on Bill Viola and watch videos of his work.
Slide 9: Thinking routine instructionsLook at his work, students can also look up the video versions of the work. Imagine if… in the context of how the technology might be altered or the artwork will have to altered to keep the art on display at museums. Agency by Design Imagine if Thinking Routine

Slide 10: Bill VIola's Fall into Paradise
Extra resources
Slide 11: 
Video "Nam June Paik: Art & Process- presented by John G Hanhardt"
Slide 12:Video on "Conserving and Exhibiting the Works of Nam June Paik: Joanna Phillips"
Slide 13: Desmos teacher guide


The last two slides are extra material for the teacher or the students if they are interested in more of the conservation efforts involving Nam June Paik's work. 


Extensions:

Students could do research on emerging television technology to make a mathematical function that will predict when the plasma TV will be obsolete. 

Art project:

Students can design an art project that will be displayed using technology. They will have to write installation instructions and possible adaptations to their work for changing or aging technology. 

Nam June Paik Archive

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Megatron/Matrix

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Cathode Ray Tube for Television

National Museum of American History

DuMont "Revere" Television Receiver

National Museum of American History

Bill Viola: The Moving Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

The Fall into Paradise

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Nam June Paik: Art & Process - John G. Hanhardt

Smithsonian American Art Museum