SHIGEKO KUBOTA: My name is Shigeko Kubota. I was born in Japan on the mountainside, near the Sea of Japan.
NARRATOR: In the mid-1970s, Kubota, then living in New York, made a series of video sculptures that paid homage to the artist, Marcel Duchamp. Here she re-interprets Duchamp’s iconic painting of a nude in motion.
SHIGEKO KUBOTA: Duchamp's Nude Descending, he cutting time, slashing in time. I said this is a very beautiful movement. Can I show it on video? Video good for cutting in time, changing in time, fast or slower or freeze, you know.
NARRATOR: Kubota filmed the piece in the lobby of a theater in lower Manhattan; a local filmmaker agreed to be the nude.
SHIGEKO KUBOTA: It was a cold winter day. We covered all the glass window so people don't see us. She was gorgeous and pretty and elegant. I respected her body movement of descending down, and up descending down.
NARRATOR: Kubota used four screens to fragment the image of the nude. She assembled them in a plywood staircase. That staircase, in addition to referencing the one in the original painting, served a unique, practical purpose-- it hid the brand name of the televisions.
SHIGEKO KUBOTA: I buy the Sony TV but I didn't want to show it to Sony. I thought a wooden box is better to hide the company's name. Natural organic material to the video, like, you know, shining movies, light coming from the box. Beautiful. Magic I thought.