If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember the VHS tape. After all, who could forget its low-fi quality and the fact that you had to physically rewind each cassette? Few people miss the days of TV prior to binge-watching, but not the artist known as Steelberg. The nostalgic creative downcycles some of today’s most popular television shows and films by imagining them as plastic VHS cases. The worn titles, with their distressed cover images, are reminiscent of the cases you’d rent from Blockbuster Video in the late 20th century—”Be kind rewind” stickers and all.
For those familiar with VCR tapes, the collision of old and new technology is an amusing sight. We’ve come so far from these clunky devices that, less than two decades later, they seem ancient. Consuming media has become sleek, wireless, and even voice activated. The idea of standing up to change a tape is unfathomable when it’s all at your fingertips; rather, the action represents an archaic ritual of yesteryear. It’s totally foreign to today’s youth, which is the appeal of Steelberg’s ongoing series. Each tape is a clever joke specifically meant for the older generations.
See more of Steelberg’s downcycled titles through his Instagram, @iamsteelberg.