Building big ideas, one VHS tape at a time

I spent my study break last night painting a video drop box and learning how Kristin Lucas is about to both continue the theme of nostalgia that has been surfacing all semester while pushing the definition and presentation of art. I can’t quite  piece together in my mind how the show will work out yet, but from Lucas’s exuberant and sincere description I know it will be incredible.

In literal terms her show is a kind of psuedo video store complete with concrete- VHS tapes that you can actually check out. However the main goal of her art is not to portray a VHS tape, it is to create a tangible way to portray the excitement of new technology simultaneously with the waste it leaves behind as it evolves.

While collecting ancient video cameras and taking stock of the many computers in her possession, Lucas considered the repercussions of our quickly changing world. As technology becomes faster, lighter, and increasingly less material, more and more excess is left behind. The progression of the video camera is a great example, it has progressed from a hulking piece of machinery that could not be moved from the room it was in to a mere feature on an iphone.  This accumulation of worthless stuff is the price we pay for the development of something that oftentimes, in the case of movies now on netflix for example, no longer occupy physical space.

Lucas is by no means denouncing the rise of technology however, she raved to me about the possibilities for sharing and collaborating that the internet offers. She hopes to capture some of that collaborative spirit with a website component. Patrons will be able to check out the concrete VHS tapes and post their experiences. She aims to give us the opportunity to transform her show into a private viewing, and truly engage us in documenting the resulting journey. This extends her examination of materiality because part of her work does not even exist in the gallery space.

Lucas is drawn to the building block aesthetic of the VHS tapes and their architectural quality. They can erode like ruins, throwing this very modern show back into ancient history. The medium is literally concrete as well as a figuratively concrete in the sense that it is tangible and real. They are objects that degrade, much like a real VHS tape whose quality gets worse and worse over time. This makes them precious objects, we compelled to preserve them. We feel a nostalgia for what the fake VHS tapes portray, but they are heavy, concrete, and ” do not love us back”.

This is only my interpretation of Ms. Lucas’s long and eloquent explanation. I am sure you want to hear more directly from the source, so show up to the opening and seek her out! Leave with a concrete piece of nostalgia and contemplation.


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