Friday, December 21, 2007

Cassette Tapes are Dead and Brian Dettmer proves it

Standing face-to-face with a full-size skeleton made from melted cassette tapes, the mind goes completely blank, spare the lone expletive: fucking-a. Seeing the long-forgotten work of R&B tenor Montell Jordan, and Steve Martin’s final comedy album, The Steve Martin Brothers—to name just a couple—eviscerated, twisted into bone shapes and pieced together into a perfectly articulate model is a singular experience. It’s just one of the works by Brian Dettmer at the International Museum of Surgical Science.

“Technology grows and mutates much like life or nature,” says Dettmer, the Atlanta-based artist (and former Chicagoan), about the connections between plastic and human bones. “Old forms die as new forms are born. In one way, cassette tapes and other media have become outdated technology and the remaining materials have become remnants or shells that used to contain a living material. There is also a stylistic and fetishistic connection between rock music and images…of death, skeletons and skulls.”

The rock & roll factor might be what makes it so difficult to engage the deeper symbolic forces at work here, and a separate skull made of heavy-metal tapes sitting on a nearby pedestal doesn’t alleviate the situation, especially not with a mouth and teeth forged from Mötley Crüe’s Shout at the Devil.

Brian Dettmer (born 1974) is an American contemporary artist. He is noted for his alteration of preexisting media -- such as old books, maps, record albums, and cassette tapes -- to create transformed works of visual fine art.

Check out some more of his works

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