Sunday, February 17, 2013

Record Collecting as Art

This year I've already bought two different copies of The Beatles' "White Album", an original German pressing made from UK plates with the top-loading cover (pictured) and an 80s German direct metal mastered (DMM) pressing on white vinyl. This brings my collection of White Albums to seven copies, which leaves me about 386 copies short of Rutherford Chang's collection. He only collects one record, the White Album. It's a fascinating art project, which you can read about here.

Chang approaches each copy of the record as a cultural artifact, the White Album being the perfect vehicle, a literal blank canvas, for history to be recorded. Not only will each record cover show different signs of wear and/or defacement, each record will sound different from varying groove wear and scratches. While I have several copies of the White Album, because I'm searching for the best-sounding version among many mastering and pressing variation, Chang is clearly collecting for different reasons. It's both physical and conceptual art. I think Yoko Ono, as a former member of the Fluxus art group, may approve.

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