Bob Jaroc used to obsessive record long stretches of random TV on VHS cassettes.
The videos he captured were his influences and companions, and now, in preparation for an art installation, he's digitized them and set them up to play back in a 4×3 grid at high speed, allowing us to watch 580 hours of recordings in five minutes.
I love this for its archival impulse, the idea to capture everything as it flicked by on the TV before it vanished forever. I did a ton of this, and, judging from the amount of amazing ephemera on Youtube, so did plenty of other people. I can still recite the dialog from The Blues Brothers and Animal House with the omissions for the commercial breaks that Citytv inserted in its early 1980s late-night airings, and remember the labels on those tapes.
"A while back, I would obsessively record things off the TV and collect films from film fairs, shops and car boot sales – this film represents a third of the quest to digitise that collection….around 580 hrs of dropped frames, filled hard drives and distracting ingesting chugging away in the corner of my studio.
The constant in the tapes is me, its as good a self portrait as I'm going to make at the moment. Some of the tapes are old favourites, some I have never watched until they went in, and some I still have no clue as to what is on them.
I often would set the recorder going at the start of a film and then go to bed and pass out, the tape stopping automatically when it would run out. As a result many of the tapes have a whole heap of footage recorded after the thing I wanted had finished, resulting in a single channel blind trawl of late night night programming (a lot of ceefax and oracle)
The 580hrs contained in this video are destined to meet their 1160 brothers and sisters in an installation planned to run over three consecutive days, but that is a story for another time.
One of my favourite film soundtracks is from a flick called You Are What You Eat (the film is in there I think)
I am definitely what I watched