music break with a concrete piece of art!
The Concrete Stereo is another milestone in Arad’s work with readymades, an iconic example of post-industrial aesthetics.
A hi-fi range (record player, speakers, and amplifier) was first coated with protective resin and then encased in concrete slabs; soon afterward the concrete was partially chipped away, exposing the rusting steel beneath. At the time of this experiment Arad was interested in both concrete and electronics, and he enjoyed the unfamiliar juxtaposition of these components as well as the technique involved in uniting them; he has compared the uncomfortable combination of materials, both physical and semiotic, to Meret Oppenheim’s fur-covered teacup set. The stereo produced something less than high-quality sound—a surreal challenge to the sanctity of consumer electronics. Very few Concrete Stereos were made, but the idea was ripe for imitation, and knockoffs were soon appearing in novelty shops. This cooled Arad’s enthusiasm, although he still regards these works as objects of beauty.
With the realisation of electronics that were so small they no longer dictated the form of their housing, the production of home audio equipment became feasable, particularly as the parts could be bought as readymade elements.
Arad chose concrete as the medium for this apocalyptic hifi, as a way of underlining its architectural character or to achieve a science-fiction look.
Turntable deck, amplifier unit, two speaker towers and two shallow cone speakers all encased in housing of cement with aluminium mesh.
Materials and Techniques
Cast cement, reinforced with aluminium mesh, with stereo system components of rubber, plastic, steel and electronics.