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Stephen Vitiello interviews composer Ryuichi Sakamoto on Nam June Paik

Posted on April 10, 2013

On the occasion of the Art & Process program at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Sunday, April 14, 2013), sound and media artist and With Hidden Noise curator Stephen Vitiello and Academy Award- and Grammy Award-winning musician and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto will perform a tribute entitled Strange Music for Nam June Paik. For the Smithsonian’s blog Eye Level, Vitiello interviews Sakamoto on his relationship with Nam June Paik, from influence to collaboration. SV: You collaborated with Nam June on the video, All Star Video. I believe you also appeared in one of the satellite broadcasts (Bye Bye Kipling from 1986). Do you have any memories or anecdotes about the nature of the collaboration? How did that project come about? RS: I met him for the first time when he had the big retrospective in Tokyo. I cannot forget what he said at that moment. He said something like “Here comes a friend from the distant” which is an excerpt of an old Chinese poem. The meeting was coordinated by Sony which was a big supporter of him for decades and they also arranged the collaboration for the video. I’m not sure that was really Nam June’s intention or not. To read the full interview, please click here. Stephen Vitiello (left) and Ryuichi Sakamoto (right) collaborate in a studio recording session. Copyright © Eye Level.

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