Numen/For Use has built a reputation out of packing tape. The Austrian-Croatian art collective has used the everyday material to construct breathtaking, surprisingly sturdy tunnels for visitors to crawl through while suspended 20 feet above the ground. But until recently, the tubes didn’t allow for lounging and casual chitchat. “Tuft,” the latest iteration in the tape series, addresses that drawback with a red carpet lining its womblike interior.
Last year, Numen/For Use constructed its largest project to date, a vast network of tunnels spanning 52 feet across Melbourne’s Federation Square. For this installation in a former church in Pula, Croatia, the artists decided to create a more permanent and transferable structure, first building a structure out of tape before using a tufting technique to cover it in carpeting.
The new surface may not be enough to completely allay a visitor’s misgivings about stepping into a enveloping space that gapes open like a large mouth. “The result,” Numen/For Use writes, “is a surreal simultaneous feeling of anxiety and thrill whilst entering into the installation. After the initial caution, the user starts perceiving the functional aspect of the installation, utilizing the softness and sound isolation of the installation and using it as an inward-facing collective sofa”--albeit a sofa hanging 13 feet above the floor.