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Brains» and the video of Joseph Beuys (1991) he gave me a little bit of a tutorial: With this event, he said, I tried to cross time and space and I brought Joseph Beuys from the dead into the living, and from Germany into New York, from old school into new school and I tried to bring The Bad Brains’ young audience into my world. It was an amazing experience to see and hear him performing with this incredibly intense loud band. He had his piano upside down and was hitting it with a hammer and every five minutes he would check his watch and he’d go up and say: Okay Mr. Bad Brain!—, and he’d take them all off the stage, no matter where they were in the song and they would put the guitars down and would go off the stage and he would leave Joseph Beuys’s howling image and sound on the screen for five minutes. He checks his watch again; Okay Mister!—, and he takes them back on the stage. He was editing live on stage. And that’s even true for the way that I’ve seen him edit videotape, it was like watching someone play the piano insanely. He would put several videotapes on several decks and have a switcher and he would just be tapping up this musical rhythms bringing each tape in and out of the visual frame.
At the end I remember saying to Nam June: Should we fix those edits? - and he said: No. It’s finished. It was a performance and that’s how it will remain. So he was tapping on the edit buttons: in-out-in-out-in-inin- out-out-out etc. and that was it and it was amazing deliberating. First of all it was like watching someone play music. I’ve learned so much from him and this appreciation I have for collaboration directly comes from him.
It was also something that I learned a lot about: a performance of a thing being an acceptable thing, that a lot of what you study and a lot of what you practise and a lot of what you learned, when it comes down to it, you get up in front of a group of people or in front of pieces of equipment and what people experience is this process of creating. So when I do my own performances, a lot of what you see is me sort of trying to put the whole thing together. I have about ten CDs of music by me or collaborations with other artists and musicians, but there is not a single song or composition that I can really re-create—it’s always