What would recording artists think if they knew cassette tapes featuring their music were being transformed into bizarre melted sculptures? I’m guessing the guys from The Kinks might be a little impressed their album’s remains are melted into the skull of a fake dead bird – yeah, that’s pretty rock and roll! Other artists might take it a bit personally, perhaps a symbol of their long past career.
These are the work of Georgia based artist Brian Dettmer, better known for his book sculptures which tell new stories through their intricately carved pages. Dettmer creates most of his work from sources that no longer have a clear use, repurposing them and controversially giving them life anew.
“The age of information in physical form is waning,” he says. “As intangible routes thrive with quicker fluidity, material and history are being lost, slipping and eroding into the ether. Newer media swiftly flips forms, unrestricted by the weight of material and the responsibility of history. In the tangible world we are left with a frozen material but in the intangible world we may be left with nothing. History is lost as formats change from physical stability to digital distress.”
His work always strikes a chord with viewers – in this case partly because of the bleak visage of death that pervades each piece – but also because of his use of vintage cassette tapes and old books that are so precious to many. It’s not infrequent to hear a viewer complain about the “destruction” of such valuable media as an old Police or Tina Turner cassette. You can see more at briandettmer.com.