The Alchemy Of Restoration

“and how one might make of the past something for the future”

 

I wanted to do a TD 160 restoration for years.  Finally I decided to buy two and they came to be named,  The Electric Warrior and Duchamp.   The project was an experimentation process, to explore the legacy of open source, upgrading, begun by Crawford, in the late 1970’s.  Odd project, you say.   My idea was to validate all the treatments applied to upgrading the TD 160 family, toward making the Electric Warrior turntable.  I had initially imagined some Glam Rock styled homage to Marc Bolan, and possibly a TD 160 interpretation like no other.  This didn’t work out to plan, because my first few acquisitions suffered shipping accidents, throwing the project into a completely different realm.  As it happenes, the Widowson turntable had been correctly packed , except the exterior wasn’t sufficiently  protected – the plinth and dust cover were destroyed but, miraculously, the turntable itself was unharmed.

 

My original intention was to do two TD 160 restorations in tandem.  So, I bought two, an experimental turntable and, the Electric Warrior – where proven upgrades would be implemented.  The experimental turntable was, fancifully, named after the illusive artist, Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp is, inarguably, the most influential expermatal artist of the the twentieth century.

As an art student in the nineteen eighties, I read an essay by art critic, Arturo Schwarz. It was my introduction to Carl Gustave Jung, and from there, the whole world of synchronicity and chance.   The essay explores Duchamp’s  Large Glass as a work of alchemy and an expression of Duchamp’s incestuous relationship with his sister, real or imagined, I know not. The Large Glass, famously, is a work whose creation was driven by chance.  It was broken in transit on the way to exhibition.  Duchamp declared the work to have been completed by the breakage, a chance occurrences. The spider cracks became part of the piece and the chance breakage was the gesture that deemed it complete.

 

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The chance breakage of the Duchamp turntable was a plot point not an accident.  It took my idea for a TD 160 restoration to another place.  Duchamp’s intervention was the injection of irony.  It demanded that I explore ways to repair or replace the broken parts.  Instead of ordering parts from reputable online vendors.  I now felt compelled me to remake them myself.  And so, began Electric Warrior Turntables.

The design of the Electric Warrior Turntable was no longer what I envisaged.  It was a process demanding my following where I was led.  I needed to obliterate any notions about what it wold look like and to ask instead – “What is it?”.   That meant breaking it down into it’s tiniest parts, even exploring its chemistry.  To do a TD 160 restoration by alchemical process –  separate, purify and reunite on a higher plane.  This is just as people have being doing since Crawford.  But now, most importantly, it was transmuting an object from the past into the future.