Reel finds

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Harold Schellinx is certainly dedicated to his art. If I wasn’t sure before, watching him tug at a sewage grate near the Nassau Avenue G train station hammered it home.

“There is probably less than a second of sound on [this],” said Schellinx, pinching his thumb and forefinger together (pictured). He was talking about the segment of cassette tape — yes, it still exists — that he had wrestled from the grate. For Schellinx, this was a find.

The 50-year-old artist, who created the ongoing “Found Tapes Exhibition,” which features audio montages of tape segments he has found, was cleaning up in Brooklyn.

Schellinx was in town for the “Conflux Festival,” a conceptual art festival which organizers cryptically described as “festival of psychogeography, the investigation of everyday urban life through emerging artistic, technological and social practice.” His practice of creating found art audio montages fit right in at the festival.

Throughout the course of the weekend-long festival, Schellinx received leads from several Brooklynites who had spotted tape on their own.

One of the festival’s organizers found a nest of tape on her block, but more often than not, Schellinx was searching near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, where, he said, “many of the tapes have just been thrown out of cars.”

And while some of them might have been tossed out long ago, he still managed to take quite a haul. Over the four days of the festival, Schellinx found 20 tapes.

Despite his love for tapes, Schellinx doesn’t eschew technology. “I’m not an analog purist,” he said. “I’m not somebody who is nostalgic about the things of the past. It’s just a material that I like to work with.”

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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