Global Groove by Nam June Paik, 1973, film still. Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.


The Medium is the Message

1 August – 17 October


Nam June Paik (South Korea / USA), Carolee Schneemann (USA), Kevin Atherton (UK), George Barber (Guyana / UK), John Smith (UK), Jesse McLean (USA), Robyn Walton & Peter Cleveland (Aotearoa New Zealand), Tim Wagg (Aotearoa New Zealand), Joe Sheehan (Aotearoa New Zealand), Claudia Kogachi (Japan / Aotearoa New Zealand), also including material from TVNZ Archives, NZ on Screen, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, and The University of Auckland’s Cultural Collections.

This is a glimpse of a new world when you will be able to switch on every TV channel in the world and TV guides will be as thick as the Manhattan telephone book ” so begins the opening titles of Nam June Paik’s pioneering work Global Groove (1973).

Global Groove is a critical proposition in the form of a television programme, and provides the starting point for this exhibition that marks sixty years since the first television broadcast from the Gus Fisher Gallery building. Considered as the father of video art, Paik pioneered the use of television and video in art, using an experimental approach to counter the domination of public service and commercial television. He was influenced by Marshall McLuhan’s optimism of the contribution of television and his assertion that the form of a message determines how that message will be perceived.

Our experience with television and broadcasting has irrevocably changed as has its position as a source for information. Forever altered by the internet, television has arguably taken on a secondary role – part entertainment, part information and part reality; how we choose to engage is a fluid entity no longer governed by our remote controls.

As we reflect on the pioneering broadcasting history of our immediate context with exclusive archival footage and ephemera, The Medium is the Message introduces a critical juxtaposition between public television and radio transmissions, and contemporary artistic responses. Navigating the choppy waters of news bulletins, television talent shows and much loved soap operas, The Medium is the Message proposes a line of continuity from the 1960s to the present day that both celebrates and problematizes our much loved relationship with broadcasting.


Did you work in the Shortland Street Studios, or visit them between 1960 – 1989? We’d love to hear your stories! Get in touch with us at 

The Howard Morrison Quartet were the first music act to perform live on New Zealand television. Listen to their songs below! 

This exhibition is kindly sponsored by