Erika Simmons is revealing the Ghost in the Machine – that’s the apt title for her unusually creative artwork which uses the relics of the 20th century – namely film reels, music and VHS cassettes – to create portraits of the person the tape may have featured. She unwinds the magnetic tape inside and, carefully cutting and twirling it, arranges it into incredibly perfect portraits.
“I spend my free time researching history science and math as it relates to the tech revolution,” she says in her artist statement. “I like to take these archaic technologies – relics from another world – and in a twisted way preserve them, reinvent them. Its easy to get boxes of tapes donated today. But what about 30 years from now? I’m trying to capture this spirit of the last century by using the actual objects, speaking through them somehow. I think the world is its own best representation.”
Simmons’ projects take shape at her studio in New Orleans’ French Quarter – where thankfully, she glues each piece down so they stick around. Her work has been featured in a LOT of publications – including GQ, Maxim, and Wired. She was chosen as the Official Artist for the 55th Grammy Awards, using studio recording tape to create an old-school phonograph. See her in action in the time-lapse video below: