An Artist Crafts Dynamic Structures out of VHS Tape
June 26, 2012
Artist Zilvinas Kempinas’ latest work shapes space by the most improbably (and seemingly inconsequential) of means: VHS tape. To create “Tube” (2008), Kempinas pinned reels of film to two parallel walls, each of which had pierced by a circular opening and placed at opposing ends of the Atelier Calder in Saché, France. With great precision, he stretched layer upon layer of the tape from one wall to the other, conjuring up a vaulted space virtually out of thin air.
Photographs from inside the tunnel recall the striated, perforated corridors that have become the hallmark of sci-fi films, with streams of material stretching endlessly into deep space. Light hitting the side of the installation scatters into ever-shifting moire patterns, casting figurative shadows and reflecting improbable volumes of light down the ether. According to the artist, he wanted to play with the videotapes’ physicality, modulating its material strengths and weaknesses, while exploring its technological obsolescence as a stage for intervention. “Videotape is made to present the world in color, but it appears purely black,” Zempinas says, continuing, “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.”