Artist Zilvinas Kempinas has turned to an interesting and disappearing medium for his work — VHS tape. His "Tube" installation takes the guts of old VHS cassettes — the all important tape — and creates a long tunnel for visitors to walk through. The way the tape was strung together created a variety of different textures or optical perceptions for visitors to experience as they walked through.
Though the original installation was created in Atelier Calder, Saché, France a few years ago, the gallery of photos from the exhibit is worth a look. The tape seems to be far more solid and durable than we'd normally expect from that old magnetic tape we know and love.
In fact, it was contradictions inherent in the medium of the VHS tape that inspired Kempinas to work with it:
"I am attracted to things that are capable of transcending their own banality and materiality to become something else, something more. I like the way that videotape is simultaneously delicate and durable, since it's meant to last. I can rip it easily with my hands because it's so thin, but I can also stretch it. Videotape is made to present the world in color, but it appears purely black. It's supposed to be this safe container of the past, but it is destined to vanish like a dinosaur, to become obsolete, pushed away by new technologies. It's a familiar mass-produced commodity, but it can be surprisingly sensual and can look almost alive if set in motion. It can be seen as a solid, thick, black line, but it can also disappear right in front of your eyes if it's turned on its side"
Frankly, I had never thought so deeply about VHS tape before, but when viewed through his artist's mind it does become something much more interesting. Here's hoping there is enough used tape out there to inspire Kempinas to create a new work.