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Tape Melbourne

At a glance, it looks like something out of an alien movie, but we promise you it’s far less dangerous and you should definitely get up close with it… and even climb inside! Alice Blackwood does just this at Tape Melbourne.

Tape Melbourne


September 15th, 2011

There’s something about kicking off your shoes and crawling through tunnels that makes you feel childlike again, and Tape Melbourne – a ’social installation’ which occupies that experimental zone between art and design – promises to lighten the most serious of moods.

Upon arriving at the Tape Melbourne site, located at Federation Square, I was encouraged to get rid of my footwear and follow designer and co-project leader, Christoph Katzler of Numen/For Use, deep inside for a cocooned chat.



With shoes off and wind buffered we could really let down our guard in this cave-like entity constructed entirely from masking tape.


It’s 360 industrial-sized rolls to be exact, and around 6 days of busy taping has transformed reams of clear-coloured sticky tape into a hardened, supportive structure which can hold up to 50 curious crawlers.


In bringing this together Katzler explains that they start with simple, straight lines of sticky tape, stretched from terrapoint to terrapoint.

“Then we go around” – in a radial fashion, and the structure shrinks down.

“We then go horizontal, and then radial, and slowly you have a closed surface… it creates a really nice tension,” Katzler says.

All the more interesting is the material itself; the final product is no longer sticky tape, but a new tape-based material, which yellows and wrinkles over time, taking on the appearance of snake skin after it has been shed.


Much of Numen’s work is conceptual in style, and their real strength is in designing spaces within spaces, and creating optical illusions through clever use of lighting, angles, reflections and – here – materials.

Katzler describes the experience of the cocoon in terms of security and insecurity.




“On the one hand this cocoon gives you a sense of security,” he says, “but on the other hand you’re bouncing around on this sticky tape…”

Once one’s conquered tape and gravity, what could possibly be next, you might ask.

“We want to do the same thing, but do it with fabric,” says Katzler.

He and his team are working with a special machine which produces carpet from strips of fabric, in effect creating a three-dimensional carpet structure, although it “can take a bit to design,” he says.

In the meantime they already have a new installation, entitled Net, opening at the Z33 in Hasselt, Belgium.

Tape Melbourne will be at Federation Square for the next 10 days.

Visit the Federation Square website for more information, or wander down to see for yourself!


Tape Melbourne
Designed by Numen/For Use
Commissioned by Federation Square
Photography by Fred Kroh


Tape Melbourne

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