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Iceland-Based Multimedia Artist Puts the Death of VHS to Hauntingly Good Use

Philip Ob Rey is a French, Iceland-based multimedia artist whose latest creation, entitled "V" HS Project, is an evocatively eerie artistic triumph and a creative revitalization of the long-deceased VHS platform.

Ever since Hollywood discontinued putting its films on VHS tape, starting with the final release of David Cronenberg's A History of Violence in 2005, those but only the most die-hard VHS aficionados made the full-time switch to DVD and then Blu-Ray and then streaming, and so on and so forth...

But Ob Rey's "V" HS Project is proving that even if viewers aren't necessarily watching these tapes any more, there is still an intriguingly inventive way to utilize (and recycle) the cruel, cruel, laserdisc-related death of the VHS tape.

Made primarily from the magnetic tape in other people's discarded videocassettes, Ob Rey produced several striking, sinister sculptures that are, without a doubt, the most frightening, wraith-like, nightmare-inducing figures Guillermo del Toro never made, a number of which bear fleeting resemblances to famous movie monsters of eras past and present, with an avant-garde twist (see here and here). Ob Rey then shot these imposingly unique creatures as they wander around the desolate and deserted frozen landscapes of Iceland for five separate series of stunning black-and-white photos and accompanying short films of each creature in hypnotic movement.

The above results, from the first series The Lavas' Whisper, speak stunningly and spookily for themselves, even if they have the weird and, based on Ob Rey's mission statement, possibly unwitting effect of also looking — to film lovers and VHS purists, at least — like a gorgeous, mournful elegy to these soon-to-be-forgotten curios of at-home viewing.

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