In 2011 the Oxford English Dictionary caused a bit of an uproar when it axed ‘cassette tape’ from it’s concise dictionary. But, when Parisian graphic designer and artist Benoit Jammes came across his beloved set of cassettes he decided to take much less drastic measures.
Instead of throwing them out, Jammes, 33, has incorporated the humble cassette into a series of fun artworks. All hand-made and hand-painted, Jammes’ work is inspired by the nostalgia attached to such objects.
He says, ‘I found a bunch of old cassettes at home; seeing them brought me back to the 80s, and to me as a kid.
‘In any case, I could not play them any more so resurrecting them sounded like a good idea… it was sound, but it became visual! And I am pretty sure they are more happy now than in a shoebox.’
The cassette tape was introduced to the European market by Philips in 1963, reaching its peak in sales in the late 80s before being overtaken by those shiny round things we all used to own – the Compact Disc. Remember those?
Jammes’ artworks make a host of pop culture references. There’s the Matrix piece, a Rambo one, and even an 18+ work. Jammes says, ‘I think people from my generation relate to this work because they enjoy the funny side of it, the references.
‘They are happy to see that these old cassette tapes managed to start a new life!’ However, Jammes’ favourite is the Tintin-inspired rocket, ‘It was one of the first that I made and personally I think it’s the most fun and cartoon-spirited of the series,’ he says.
Using his own cassettes has meant that some great singles have been included in the artwork. He says ‘Michael Jackson and Ace of Base are in there, but I have to stop listing them because I don’t want to enrage some purists who would blame me for sacrificing such idols!’
See more of Jammes’ work at www.benoitjammes.com