I was lucky enough to catch the Tape Tokyo exhibition at Spiral in Tokyo on December 14, its very last day. I had heard about the installation created with packing tape and I had hesitated going. I put it off and then put it off some more because I had no idea what to expect. Then I saw a photo of another installation by Numen/For Use made with black nets. I became intrigued. I convinced a friend to go with me, and we were spell-bound minutes after our arrival.
People waiting to go inside the installation were lined up the stairs inside the building. (That is nothing new in the Omotesando area where people seem to always be lining up to enter the newest restaurant or shop.) We were not sure at first if we had no choice but to line up to see any part of the piece or if we could walk around the perimeter of the space. Thank goodness that somebody else wondered the same thing and asked the woman behind us the same question! The line was only for those who wished to enter the cocoon-like structure; we did not have to line up to see the structure after all. We quickly gathered our bags and headed past the crowds into the inner sanctum of the atrium.
Neither one of us had been to Spiral before, so we had no idea how large the atrium was or even if it was outside or inside. The cocoon stretched out into a large concrete courtyard closed to all natural elements except sunshine and moonlight. A large spiral ramp that gives the building its name curled up to the second floor, but the space stretched up way above us. It looked like we were on location for the filming of the next in the series of Alien films, but it felt like one of those Moonwalk sites set up at summer carnivals where children bounce around inside. The plastic felt surprisingly strong!
Numen/For Use is an industrial design unit formed by Sven Jonke, Christoph Katzler, and Nikola Radeljkovic in 1998 and based in Austria and Croatia. They use the name, “For Use,” mainly for their furniture designs and “Numen” for other work. Numen comes from noumenon, meaning “substance”. This group has also created tape installations in Hasselt and Melbourne.