There’s an alternate universe where the digital revolution never happened. Flying cars have awesome tape decks. Camera phones are tethered by curly wires, with reel-to-reel projectors built in. Ultimately, it all looks a lot like the work of Lorenzo Durantini.
In 2010, the mixed media artist went through a bit of an obsessive period with old recording mediums, creating epic installations of magnetized plastic film. For his collection 2,216 VHS Tapes, he created everything from 12-foot VHS obelisks to rooms full of 250,000+ feet of old tape. They’re projects that are absolutely daunting in their scope, whilst painfully, wastefully exploring the repercussions of a corporate-driven lifespan: planned obsolescence.
“They have just passed their point of cultural utility and are transformed into a sort of contemporary relic,” Durantini tells Co.Design. “I hope they provide an alternate and somewhat critical viewpoint of the structures that surround image production and distribution.”
It’s hard to admire Durantini’s recycling for too long without letting the element of waste make you a bit nauseous. 2,216 tapes seems like a lot, until you realize that the DVD of Finding Nemo sold 40 million copies just a few years ago, right as we’re evolving into a post-DVD entertainment world.
The good news, of course, is that the next wave of planned obsolescence will have nothing to do with tapes or discs. Instead, we’ll all just have to sign up for a constant stream of new subscription video services, just to juggle the never-ending scope of copyright distribution laws.