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Current time:0:00Total duration:4:19

Video transcript

[piano music] We're here in the Imaging Studios After installing Nam June Paik's "Untitled" piano work from 1993, and we're celebrating the moment of completion of a two-year conservation project This work is either a conservation nightmare or a conservation dream that has every problem it could possibly have for a video sculpture Some of the elements are either not functioning or wouldn't be functioning soon in the future The sculpture consists of an upright piano modified with a player piano unit I looked at the piano and realized the piano itself is in need of repair They recommended a firm that they authorize He took one look at it and said This piano is in terrible shape The keys are peeling up, the hammers are coming off there were parts that are worn out We went through a very detailed condition assessment some of the hammers and some of the elements that were wearing away, we did repair and replaced them 15 different television sets melded on top and on the sides and on the floor next to the piano We contacted CTL electronics down at Canal Street The owner, CT Louie, used to work with Nam June Paik He has a good understanding of what Paik would want in replacing CRT technologies One of the things we wanted was to obtain a complete back up set so we did that The television sets play four different video feeds Two of the video feeds come from the security cameras In addition there's a spotlight The two other video channels come from laser discs which are mounted on the floor and these laser disc players are playing videos that Nam June Paik made One of them is a video of his mentor, John Cage, with images of Merce Cunningham, and the other is an abstract video of piano keys moving When we acquired the work, the two video streams ran on umanick tapes When it was installed at Moma, the artist was here and he authorized my grading to laser disc We did migrate the laser discs so we now have them on uncompressed, Quicktime files In the future, Moma staff is gonna have to make a big decision Piano is operated by originally a floppy disc drive Five and a half inch floppy disc drive We replaced that with an mp3 player that's mounted in back of that Paik signed the work on the last two piano keys He actually signed his name and the date so that makes it all the more special The installation took place yesterday Fortunately, we have really good documentation Many photographs of the work from its prior installations detailed step by step instructions on how to install the work and I'm sure Nam June Paik would be laughing at us because when he originally installed it, it was just haphazard, the wires were hanging on the sides, but we wanted to get them right Because he was a performing artist, because he was a fluxus artist, he incorporated chance What we do now isn't what he would do if he were alive, and yet we're challenged We're trying to make decisions that would somehow be in keeping with his intentions I was worried that we wouldn't be able to show it in the future since it's dependent on these technologies that go obsolescent over time And just seeing it altogether after these two years of work is really exciting for me It's just gratifying to see it and to hear it and to be able to celebrate this moment [lively piano music]