THANK YOU: zakyumiko for Takashi Murakami’s Mr. Wink

Takashi Murakami, Mr. Wink, Cosmos Ball, aka Oval (Peter Norton Family Christmas Project), 2000, image via Bukowski’s, where this one sold for SEK15,000 ($US1739) in 2016

Every one was an unexpected and generous delight and a thoughtful and cherished memento, but the hottest Peter Norton Family Christmas Project was the Takashi Murakami figurine, Oval Sitting Atop A Cosmos Ball (Mr. Wink) (2000).

Time goes on. The Norton Family reconfigured and eventually stopped their Christmas Project (I think? Or is it just me?). Some people started flipping their Mr. Winks, but he has been an elf on our shelf for 20 years. And for most of that time, I’ve been low-key trying to listen to the mini-CD inside the flower ball again, and rip it to mp3.

When I got it, I just popped the mini-CD into my Sony Discman Sport, enjoyed the track by zakyumiko, the duo Zak Onpa and Yumiko Ohno, a couple of times, and then carefully put it back. Then in between attempts to get the mini-CD to play in a couple of DVD players, I searched in vain for someone to post this thing as an MP3.

In Summer 2018 the Tang Museum at Skidmore played the CD on a loop in the elevator, but did not release it beyond that.

Last summer, Murakami announced he was making a music video of his poem, ‘Let’s Go See the Nuclear Reactor,’ which was set to music by zakyumiko. It’s being shown at the Mori Art Museum, but that’s it, afaik.

Just this spring, during lockdown, I dug the Discman out, ordered a new power adapter for it, in order to play the mini-CD, and found out the problem was not the power.

Then eight days ago, tertiaryj posted the track to Soundcloud. I just found the link in the online viewing room for a Brooke Alexander exhibition of art multiples that includes a Mr. Wink ($3,500, btw). THANK YOU.

It is an accretion of a quiet ringtone, some electronic chime, and the ambient sounds around a small water feature. It is very soothing, but also very short, less than 2min of the 15min track. But it is still great. Here is a longer, unrelated snyth session Ohno, Zak, and Jeff Mills performed in 2017 or so.

Now I just need to record my Christian Marclay music box for my plinky throwback ringtone.

UPDATED 2022: THANKS AGAIN. Longtime reader/hero filmmaker Chris Nanos pinged me a few weeks ago to see if I ever got the whole zakyumiko Mr. Wink track ripped, which renewed my efforts. I dragged my very state-of-the-art-at-the-turn-of-the-millennium Sony component hi-fi system out of storage, and found out the tiny rubber O-rings that operate the CD changer and double tape deck had broken. I dragged out a region-free DVD player from an early 2000s video art installation, which supposedly plays and records from newfangled USB sticks, and it played but it did not record. And our TV is apparently too smart to get involved. So I emailed my dad to see what archaic computer setups he had, and could I borrow one, and he was like, “Oh, I’ll just send you an external drive with a tray. [two minutes later] Oh, it’s cheaper to buy one than to mail you one.” “Cool send me the link and–” “Oh, I just bought it, it’ll be there tomorrow.” And it was, and now I ripped that whole thing, and it’s great. So thanks again to zakyumiko, Takashi Murakami, the Norton Family, and Chris–and my dad–for this format transfer adventure.

Takashi Murakami Mr. Wink, Cosmos Ball, music by Zakyumiko [soundcloud]