Television Brassiere for Living Sculpture (with cellist) is a performance sculpture piece by Nam June Paik. He created this work for cellist Charlotte Moorman in 1969. The piece consists of a pair of three-inch television screens mounted in plexiglass cubes which are strapped over the breasts of the cellist. The televisions display oscillations created from signals from a pickup on the cello.
In published notes on the piece, Nam June Paik describes TV Brassiere for Living Sculpture as "one sharp example to humanize electronics ... and technology. By using TV as bra ... we will demonstrate the human use of technology, and also stimulate viewers ... to look for the new, imaginative, and humanistic ways of using our technology."
What we often forget is that Paik was a serious pianist who studied music in Tokyo and Munich, met and worked with Stockhausen and Cage, so rather than reading this artwork as a fixation on the striking aspect of the female form (with reference to Man Ray's Le Violon d'Ingres), what is at issue is the mediation of music (the human) into lissajous figures (representing technology).
The physical components of this piece are held by the Walker Art Center in Minniapolis.There are photographs of Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman that might be from a performance of this piece that show Moorman wearing the case of a larger television as a sort of hood/helmet. This is not represented in the material at the Walker Art Center, listed at <collections.walkerart.org/item/object/874>.
A picture of Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman outfitted for the performace of this piece may be found at <www.paikstudios.com/gallery/18.html>
This piece should not be confused with Opera Sextronique which infamously resulted in arrests for indecent exposure.