Tapescape Catford: Intervention 1

March-April 2012

Jon Pigram

An intervention in an old Blockbuster Video, closed after being looted during the London 2011 riots, exploring the politics of the videocassette and its impact on the functioning of society, the environment and consumer behaviour.

Video Player 1970s

Tapescape Catford | Intervention I took place over a three week period in March 2012, seeking to understand how the rise of the video player from the late 1970s began to change the way our society functioned.


There was no attempt to formally curate the space in advance, artists were challenged to take command of their work, exposing them slightly. Somewhat unnerved by the free reign allowed the intervention mutated in ways no one could have predicted and drew in local people, young and old, of all backgrounds to enquire of the odd goings on taking place in their old video store. The conversations grew and interest in all aspects of videocassette began from the tape itself to how it changed the way moving image is perceived. A one day symposium was convened by Goldsmiths, University of London and a number of articles on the intervention can be found under the tag Tapescape Catford.


Installations, Performances and Talks

Using art installations, soundscapes, spoken word, discussions, talks, screenings, and dance, Tapescape Catford | The Intervention I took over a disused Blockbuster video store, ransacked during the 2011 London riots. The intervention questioned the impact video has made on all our lives, how it affected our behaviour and the huge environmental cost of our short lived innovations. There was a ‘Video Amnesty’ allowing London borough of Lewisham residents to donate old videocassettes and see them returned to the shelves before being sent away to be fully recycled and re-emerge as something new. The amnesty resulted in more than 2,000 videocassettes being returned (over 1 tonne) and Lewisham council rolling out videocassette recycling to all 265,000 borough households for the first time.