I know you think I’m crazy, but I’m not, I’m not!, 1938-2019 Excerpted from the 'Digest Archive'

Candice Breitz
I know you think I’m crazy, but I’m not, I’m not!, 1938-2019 Excerpted from the 'Digest Archive',
25-Channel video installation: Five shelves, 25 videotapes in polypropylene sleeves, paper and acrylic paint
Shelves: 122.5 x 100 x 7.5 cm

Photo: Saverio Cantoni  When it is shown in full-scale, Digest is a multi-channel video installation that consists of 1,001 videotapes, which Breitz has permanently buried in polypropylene video sleeves. Each of the sleeves is emblazoned with a single verb excerpted from the title of a film that was in circulation during the era of home video, then painstakingly coated in black acrylic abstraction. The verb, ‘to die’, for instance, is sourced from the VHS cover for Die Hard (1988), while ‘to do’ is cited from the VHS cover for Do The Right Thing (1989). In each case, the Digest verb faithfully appropriates and reproduces the font that was used on the original VHS cover. The tapes are arranged on shallow wooden racks, evoking the display aesthetics of video rental stores. The content carried on the concealed videocassettes will remain forever unrevealed, leaving viewers to speculate regarding what footage is being preserved within this extensive archive. Video set in motion a revolution in the late 1970s, anticipating a future in which moving images would be accessible, affordable and infinitely reproducible – while at the same time predicting the inevitable erosion of the collective viewing experience that cinema had offered (in favour of home entertainment). For all the radical shifts predicted by video, the videotape itself remained unapologetically and stubbornly trapped in physical objecthood. Less than a decade into the twenty-first century, the format was dead. The moving image was destined for a virtual future, in keeping with the profound disembodiment that the digital era would bring to the public sphere at large. As a final resting place for miles and miles of videotape, Digest commemorates the embodied subjectivity of the analogue era, immortalising a mode of image consumption that has since slipped into obsolescence.