VHS Tape InstallationsVHS tape has fascinated New York-based Lithuanian artist Zilvinas Kempinas for a decade. "It’s supposed to be this safe container of the past," he explained in this 2009 Museo interview. "But it is destined to vanish like a dinosaur, to become obsolete, pushed away by new technologies."
Kempinas was selected to represent Lithuania at the 2009 Venice Biennale. He reconstructed and enlarged Tube in a famed Scuola Grande della Misericordia, built by Jacopo Sansovino in the 16th century. In Tube, Kempinas painstakingly strung thousands of feet of unspooled VHS tape between two white doorways, creating a featherlight portal of rippling black lines. Walking through the portal, the strings of tape dance and undulate around you. From certain angles, the strands disappear. From other angles, they reflect their surroundings.
What Kempinas is doing, in essence, is drawing with celluloid. "Videotape is inexpensive," the artist commented in 2009. "It’s a container of visual information, data carrier, but you can perceive it like an abstract line."