Yesterday my family and I went to JWK Electronics in Petersburg, VA for my monthly fix of 1980s technology. The proprietor, Justin, totally rules, and he hooked me up once again. Last time I was there they just got a mint condition Fisher component stereo system. Turns out it’s from 1983, which makes it perfect for UMW’s Living Room Console.
It’s got four components: turntable, receiver, tape deck, and radio receiver. It’s also got some serious speakers. What was mint is the whole thing fit perfectly into the entertainment center I have to say that the stereo really completes the living room. After Zach and I put it all together yesterday, we played The Cars “Heartbeat City” on vinyl, and it was heavenly! Inspired, I went to Fat Kat Records here in Fredericksburg and picked up some additional period appropriate albums:
Blondie‘s Parallel Lines sounded so amazing! Has to be one of the most influential albums of the 70s and 80s. The sound has never gotten dated, unlike Def Leppard 🙂 While I was picking up the stereo, I also saw a late 70s Fisher stand-alone turntable, and I couldn’t resist because we had an almost identical piece growing up. Nostalgia buys #4life.
I also got my hands on a box of Betamax tapes. Filled with all the Bond films, Star Wars, E.T., Ghandi, etc. What’s even cooler is I also got around 15 home recorded tapes of shows like Little House on the Prairie, MacGyver, MTV videos, etc. Our VHS and Betamx tape collection is filling out beautifully, although we have to cull some of the post 1985 additions.
A cool thing about the home recorded TV tapes is that Zach and I can hopefully use them to get some commercials and independent TV station bumpers. We’re working on programming a week of TV across several stations. Once we get this done and figure out how to broadcast it across several channels, this installation will feel as close to “done” as it ever can be.
When I finally sat down for a second and listened to some music and scanned the work we have done, I have to say it’s one of the most rewarding projects I’ve worked on at UMW. It converges my penchant for nostalgia, interest in 80s media, and building a sense of place and time into the work I do in some powerful ways. I also love that it’s situated in physical space in ways most of the other work I’ve been part of isn’t. Rather than keeping the console in the #ITCC, assuming we even can, Zach and I talked about having the exhibit travel to other schools. That would be pretty sick. The #cunyconsole, #truconsole, #psuconsole, etc. Pretty wild. Anyway, this is the project that just keeps on giving, now we have to finish the TV programming and this thing will be true art!
Update: The videos in this post were previously embedding from Vine, but I have since downloaded those shots and uploaded them here for posterity.