Rewind is a performance that uses tape and custom-made electronics to explore the entangled relationship between self and familyhood through memory. 9 VHS tapes serve as handles to revisit personal family memories recombining visuals and sounds in them. 

The sounds, collected from the old home video footages, were a mix of ambient environment sound, family conversations over gatherings, and recordings from celebrations, which were significant snippets of memory around personal identity and family rituals. Most of the video footages were recorded about 20 years ago, and functioned as an very important part when constructing own culture identity and emotional attachments in my early stage of the life, and now diasporic ties. By adding tangibility to the VHS tape and using it as an interface to reengage with the home video collections, the performance evoked a nostalgia and simple delight. 

These collected sounds were digitized from the original tape and sonified into harmonies and soundscape to resonate with the emotions. A sensor was built inside of each VHS tape to detect the pulling speed to modify different parameters of the sound, and trigger different visuals on the screen. The videos are a collage of original family video footages and were being distorted and glitched using analog circuit bending video processors.

Year: 2023
Material: Electronics, VHS tape

Performed at ITP New Interfaces for Musical Expressions 2021; Ammerman Center Biennial Symposium for Arts and Technology 2022; Turn Up Multimedia Festival 2023

Video Credit:Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology

My grandfather started tape recording our family gatherings around 20 years ago, carefully documenting, editing, and encapsulating them into VHS tapes. These VHS tapes were then burned onto DVD, and stored in a feather suitcase beneath the bed at my childhood home. Later the DVDs were digitized again onto a hard drive left at my distant home on the other side of the world. After I began working on this project, I worked remotely with my grandfather to upload the footages from the hard drive to a cloud drive and reformat them. These footages and files were being reformatted from time to time, from analog to digital, across a long distance of time and space. As the pixels of the tapes were stretched, compressed, transformed, and lost through migrations, so were my memories and the retrospective construction of myself and home over time.
These footages were reversed into analog format and manipulated by analog circuit bending processors, as well as collapsed in real-time digitally with data bending algorithm. Arranging and confronting the fragments of the past, I was searching for a sense of place and belonging in the lost memories, and in the part of me that was left in the suitcase in that distant small town.

Analog video bending collage


A website that glitches the digital video data with every click and scroll.
Digital data bending
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@Jingyao Shao 2024