Harold Schellinx – Très Grande Collage

For many years Harold Schellinx has been collecting snippets of tapes that had escaped from their cases for some reason and ended up alone and abandoned. If you listen to the restored tapes you can hear the dirt of the street, and if you try to go a little bit further you might even be able to listen into the past, and visualise it together with all its lost, decayed, disappeared or aged artefacts.

Harold says:

“ The TGC, the ‘Très Grande Collage’, is a fourteen hour chain of sound bits salvaged from 710 (seven hundred and ten) distinct magnetic audio tapes, some of them still more or less intact, but most of them reduced to clods, knots and wads, that I picked up from the shoulders of highways, from pavements and lawns, that I fished out of gutters, covered in dust, mud and dog’s shit, that I untied from branches in bushes and trees, where once they got caught, trapped, shredded and torn, where they were worn, warped and wasted by rain, wind, sand and pollution.”

“I collected the trash tapes that provided the material for the TGC between 2002 and 2011, as part of my everyday movements in Paris, Amsterdam, Maastricht, Brussels, Berlin, New York and wherever else I happened to pass. I painstakingly untied and unknotted all of it, spooled it back into an empty cassette case, put that into a cassette player, pressed play and listened… All of these finds then were digitised and documented in an online ‘travelogue’: the Found Tapes Exhibition.”


“The TGC gives a unique and utterly fascinating glimpse of the massive audio memory that was built up worldwide in the span of the three decades (1980 – 2010) that the compact audio cassette was a common household item, routinely put to use for the recording and playing back of every thinkable kind of music, for the keeping of messages by the answering machines that were attached to practically every telephone line, as a tool for dictation, as an aid for the learning of languages, as a medium for audio plays, for preaching, praying and meditation, for advertising and political propaganda, for the recording of private thoughts and reflections to be send as audio letters to friends, family or lovers, for storing the software that ran on the earliest types of our personal computers …”

“The ongoing massive digitisation and cloud-i-fication has meanwhile made magnetic audio tape obsolete, at least as an everyday house hold thing on a par with toilet paper and tissues, and hence the once ubiquitous tape trash all but disappeared from our cityscapes.
It still can be found, though. In the near future I will extend the TGC with the about 50, 60 finds that he picked up between 2011 and now. Just you wait and see…”

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