Packing tape is just strong enough to ship an Amazon box without everything falling out. But visitors to the Palais de Tokyo rely on its tenuous tensile strength to crawl through semi-transparent caverns suspended 20 feet above the ground in a new installation, Tape Paris.
Tape Paris is the brainchild of the Austrian/Croatian art collective For Use/Numen. It’s the latest iteration of their ongoing project Tape, in which they construct expansive, cave-like cocoons in museums and public spaces. The version on display now at Palais de Tokyo uses layers and layers of tape that assemble like sinew (and were built by hand). For Tape Paris, the team tells us that a dozen people worked over the course of 10 days, without computer modeling to aid them. Tape dispensers are attached to long, telescopic poles, allowing workers to carefully run the tape layer upon layer across the air until it’s strong enough to hold human weight. Then, around the tape, they bind the structure together with plastic sheeting.
Visitors are invited to crawl through 180 feet of frosted caves, their hands and knees sinking into the elastic structure, as other visitors look on from below like peering through a layer of ice. Tape Paris urges visitors to not think about or critique the art, but to play.