University of Cincinnati owns an important video sculpture by the man who basically created multimedia art, Nam June Paik.
But don’t expect to see Cinci-Mix, which was commissioned in 1996 for an interior wall in then-new Aronoff Center for Design and Art. Because the old-school components — 18 stacked rear-projection monitors playing laser-discs — started breaking down, the College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP) had to put the piece into storage in 2007. Six monitors had ceased working and there was no permanent budget set aside for maintenance. Further, it was hard to address questions about technological upgrades — such as maybe converting to flat-screen TVs — since the Korean-born, American-based avant-gardist died in 2006 without leaving clear instructions for the piece’s future.
That doesn’t mean Cinci-Mix — for which the artist collected video clips about UC life from students, staff and faculty — has been forgotten. Last year, DAAP sponsored a roundtable discussion on what to do about the in-limbo artwork. And this Friday and Saturday, broadening of the theme, DAAP is hosting a symposium called Nam June Paik and the Conservation of Video Sculpture. It has received a grant from Los Angeles’ Getty Foundation, which is eager to address questions of preserving and restoring unconventional contemporary art.
The symposium is bringing in curators and conservators from around the world, as well as several prominent video artists, including Cincinnati native (and Oakland resident) Alan Rath.
Friday and Saturday’s Nam June Paik and The Conservation of Video Sculpture symposium (including a Friday night reception) is open to the public. Go here to read Steven Rosen's full feature.