Skull made from VHS cassettes: Dead Media

Noah Scalin sez, "Dead Media is created from 497 VHS videocassettes that were given to me by several friends and also culled from my personal collection. The piece, which is approximately 20 feet long by 9 feet wide, was built in the style of the skull in Holbein's The Ambassadors and meant to be viewed from only one point and is actually quite distorted in real life. The piece is on display at the TCC Visual Arts Center in Portsmouth, Virginia from this Friday through November 1st after which it will be dismantled and used to create new artworks by the students of Tidewater Community College."

403. Dead Media (Thanks, Noah!)


  1. True story: this morning I just got a VHS cassette I ordered from Amazon because I was trying to track down an obscure film clip that wasn’t available anywhere else. Now I have to figure out how to digitize the damn thing. I feel like I need a copy of the Rosetta Stone.

    1.  I hope the obscure film you’re digitizing is “The Wizard of Speed and Time”.

      We have about 800 movies on tape.  500 movies on Laserdisc, some repeats with tape and DVD after my wife and I merged our collections (hers mostly tape, mine mostly LD).

      We’ve got a two-generation rule.  Any same-title cannot be purchased again unless the replacement is two-media-generations newer than we have it on, with the exception being if the one we have is absolutely terrible.  So, tapes can be replaced by DVD or Blu-Ray, and Laserdisc can be replaced by Blu-Ray.  There are a few tapes that we replaced with LD (mostly boxed-sets or extra features) and a few LD that got replaced with DVD (like individual episodes of series on LD that we bought the whole season on DVD), and I have RHPS in at least three formats, but we try to avoid excessive redundancy.

      We thought about digitizing our tapes, but concluded that it’s a waste of time.  Too much pan-and-scan and too poor quality.

  2. I regularly see requests on sites like Freecycle asking for VHS movies for elderly or ill shut-ins. It’s hardly a completely dead format. Heck, Amazon still sells several players.

  3. Really cool piece. Love this kind of work that exists in some college gallery for a month before its recycled into lesser student art :)

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