Originally released in 1981, the Sony WM-2 epitomizes the hallmark of the Walkman product identity. With all its original accessories, printed ephemera, and packaging intact, Skye Nicolas elevates a historically exceptional technological specimen to a readymade that celebrates youth culture—its essence perfectly embedded in the work as it revisits the power of music and personal myths while reflecting on several generations’ emotional attachment to these once ubiquitous devices. Meta prose lifted from 1980’s and 1990’s era song lyrics is carefully engraved on a custom aluminum brass plate that is affixed to the surface of the device. Invoking the age-old practice of inscription, these poetic declarations recall the etching of esoteric text onto sacred objects and artifacts of spiritual importance. The conscious choice of employing non-corrosive alloys explores existential topics of permanence and humankind’s fascination with immortality.
The artist’s creation of a mixtape examines the ritualistic nature of the craft through performance. The specificity of carefully chosen songs annotates a galaxy of personal meaning colored by magical moments. The readymade’s anachronistic presence in a physical space is a viscerally heartfelt experience that draws upon the power of induced nostalgia. As a physical object, it is the direct complementary inverse and counterpart to what the artist refers to as dematerialized or cerebral readymades, as characterized in Nicolas’ definitive Walkman Series of digital NFT artworks.