Cassette Works
Nunns Yard, 32 St Augustines Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 3BY
Private View: Friday 22nd June 5pm – 8:30pm
Saturday 23rd June and Monday 25th – Thursday 28th June 10am – 3pm
Press Release

Michael Ridge presents previously unseen work from 2011-2012 in a new solo exhibition Cassette Works at the Nunns Yard gallery. Michael has utilised the compact audio cassette for recording and distributing his audio works since 2008. In its heyday they were cheap, portable and simple to duplicate music on and like many children growing up in the 1990’s audio cassettes hold fond memories of creating mix-tapes and recording music from the radio. This exhibition blends audio cassette culture with fine art to create sound and sculpture based works that investigate time, duration and the mechanical and physical limitations of this once popular format.

24 Hours features a portable cassette player suspended from the gallery ceiling with an unspooled audio cassette connected to exactly 24 hours of music (414720cm of magnetic tape) on the gallery floor. Installed inside the player is a contact microphone amplifying sound generated from the motors continuously playing the unspooled audio cassette. One flaw with audio cassettes was the magnetic tape could be prone to unspooling from its plastic casing and 24 Hours takes this fault to absurd levels. The pile of magnetic tape can be interpreted as symbolising a familiar unit of time and the decline of audio cassettes since the introduction of CDs, MP3s and downloads.

Unwind Endlessly is a four minute recording of the artist pulling out magnetic tape from a cassette to create 24 Hours. The destructive act of pulling apart a cassette is the very thing that created the recording playing in the gallery. The low fidelity of the recording is also evident and another characteristic of this format.

Sandpaper C1, Black Velvet Ribbon C1 and Strawberry Lace C1 are three compact audio cassettes with the original magnetic tape removed and replaced with an alternative tape material. Each cassette has exactly 1 minute playing time (288cm of tape) though technically playable it would probably damage itself and any equipment if used. Like 24 Hours each tape serves instead as a visual representation of a predetermined amount of time, with the viewer left to envisage what sound they potentially could make if played.

Latex Eden C90 is a 90 minute audio recording from the pornographic film Eden; the original plastic shell has however been replaced with latex shell mixed with semen and saliva from the artist. Though this audio cassette is unplayable the material used to create the shell does give a clue to the content recorded on the tape.

7.5 Second Secret comprises of 33.6cm (7.5 seconds) of magnetic audio tape mounted with two guide rollers onto the gallery wall. Contained on the tape is an intimate secret recorded by the artist just before the exhibition was installed.

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