Numen/For Use’s Tape Installation

Ever wonder what 530 rolls of self-adhesive tape would look like if you used it to create a spiderweb? It would probably look much like Numen/For Use‘s Tape Installation in Odeon, Vienna. While I always appreciate projects that are so ambitious and visually stunning, I’m growing wary of excessive waste. Clear packing tape is, for the most part, not recyclable (due to its adhesive) and using 530 rolls for a temporary project is a bit tough for me to grasp.

While I don’t mean to sound like a worrier, I’m just concerned about projects that are so overwhelming to the viewer that he or she can’t stop for a minute to think about the implications of production. We (BCL) have used plastic products in some of our projects in the past, but questions about waste were usually addressed. The most I can hope for is that artists keep asking these important questions when they decide to take refined materials and transform them.

There are a couple of images of this massive installation after the jump.

3 Replies to “Numen/For Use’s Tape Installation”

  1. Wow, that installation is insane. However, you raise some good points, Josh, and you’re right, we’ve definitely encountered those questions before.

    I suppose I have to wonder what responsibility artists have to take in their material selection — that is, while art can certainly demonstrate an idea, it seems to be a bit short-sighted for folks (and this isn’t critiquing your viewpoint, but rather just me thinking aloud) to worry about a one-off project like this, but then fail to generally look or push for the massive change within consumer society that could eliminate the need for tape (or whatever everyday material is in question) at all.

    Would the project have read any differently if it was simply a raw plastic material, rather than a repurposed material? And, I suppose to flip this around on myself, is it fair to even ask that question, when the project clearly is made out of tape and must at some level be built into the conceptual underpinnings of the project itself?

  2. You raise some good points. Art definitely plays a REALLY minor role in overall material exploitation, but I wonder whether or not we should even direct some of the sustainability questions that we are asking the manufacturing sector towards art makers. I realize that changing the way some artists work might put them out of a job so it’s a tuffy!

  3. No, you’re right, Josh. Questions are sustainable practices (in all manners – materially, financially, etc.) are important to ask. I suppose I’m just thinking that it’s much more likely for a project like this to be criticized for its use of these materials, when a shipping company would never face that kind of critique, because the shipping company’s efforts are based on the safe transportation of goods and capital. And capital always gets the go-ahead. Art gets dismissed as unnecessary or extra, so it becomes the issue around which concerns about excess are raised, which I think is rather problematic.

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