Support the Remixer and the Arts

It’s been over 4 years since I met Bryan Mathers in Barcelona, and I regularly count my lucky stars for that chance encounter. While shooting the shit at a table with a selection of fine folks Bryan quickly sketched out what would be the iconic image of Reclaim Hosting, one that remains near and dear to my heart. The Reclaim Vinyl icon:

It’s so beautiful!

Since then we have collaborated on quite a few projects and he has been an absolute joy to work with. He is the best kind of art therapy for your organization ? In fact, a believe it is the Reclaim aesthetic, which has evolved to the VHS tape, that has provided us the freedom to actually create fun projects like Reclaim Video and Reclaim Arcade with a certain amount of impunity. I personally think the power of art is woefully undervalued or overlooked in edtech, which is a shame given how much an organizing visual principle makes for good design. In fact, the coolest thing about Reclaim Hosting has been the ability to collaborate with artists like Bryan Mathers, Michael Branson Smith, and Ryan Seslow. And hopefully we will get the opportunity to work closely with Amy Burvall here soon as well, I think we can play with a whole Putin-inspired 80s Soviet revival ?  In fact, Domains19 is very much premised on the idea that we should be focusing more on art to communicate what is happening with tech that everywhere surrounds us. it is a tall order, but in the spirit of #ds106 we are all artists, and we should spend a lot more time exercising this facility that everyone has access to.

Image of Remixer Machine featuring Reclaim's VHS

Anyway, I’ll step off my soapbox here for a second to plug our most recent collaboration with Bryan Mathers in which he has created the Reclaim VHS tape as remixable object in his amazing Remixer machine. He wrote a most kind post about the project, and we are happy to regularly support his work in all its wonderful emanations. In fact, you should too. In these troubled times I want to believe it is the artists, not the politicians, that will light the way forward and give is a vision to believe in, so I’m gonna double-down on that belief with my support, and a Remix or two ?

RECLAIM VIDEO REMIXED TAPE

Reclaim Video Laserdisc and VHS Haul

I have been quiet on the Reclaim Video front with everything going on with the Fall semester start-up, so before they become a distant memory I wanted to mention a couple of nice hauls of  Laserdiscs and VHS tapes we got in the last couple of months. Back in late August I took a trip to the Fat Kat Records location in Ruther Glen, Virginia to stock up on laserdiscs, and that I did. 

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There are a lot of gems, I particularly enjoyed the Japanese import of Blue Steel (1990), which I proceeded to watch the next day, its cool to re-visit early Kathryn Bigelow after seeing her career develop as a filmmaker, althoughI think I most enjoy  her early films like Near Dark (1987) and Point Break (1991)—but what a career.

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I also picked up some VHS tapes on this trip to Fat Kat, and I was happy about that:

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I wanna do a Quest for Fire/Waterworld double-feature at some point ? I even got a cassette tape:

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And a book:

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But the real score was a few weeks ago when I found a lot of 300+ VHS tapes on Craig’s List. Full blown lots like this are harder and harder to find, and this one was a total gem. Meredith went to Maryland on her way back from the Nationals game and after hearing about Reclaim Video the Ingram family donated the whole lot for free, including  ton of empty VHS cases. This is a particular collection, I will get more pictures and add them to the ones below, but here is a small taste.

The back seat of Meredith’s car after pickup

6 Boxes of 80s VHS Tapes

Some VHS tapes from the Ingram Haul, love Turk 182, The Star Chamber, The Bad News Bears and Rambo, and even Night Hawks! (a personal favorite—we now have that one on laserdisc and VHS).

You had be at Mad Max

We still have to inventory it all, but our collection to a major jump with the addition of all these titles, and I have to think we approaching the 1000 mark for VHS tapes alone. I’ll need to confirm as much, but I have to think this haul pushed us over that number. Meredith also got the perfect card for the Ingrams, and now they have a lifetime membership to Reclaim Video ?

Thanks you card for the Ingrams for their generosity and support of Reclaim Video!

Thank you letter to the Ingrams

And beyond that haul, I got a 4-VHS set on Ebay featuring Streets of Fire (1984), the rock musical from the 80s you might not have ever seen. I was inspired by Paul Bond’s post on the film and his awesome GIFs—it’s a truly bizarre film.

4 Tapes

Willem Defoe at his very best

One final note, we have a second part-time employee at Reclaim Video that started a bit ago, so it’s becoming more official everyday. I am pretty hands-off on the day-to-day (understatement), but I understand people actually rent videos on occasion ? And the big news is that there may be hope of telepresence via an iPad robot by as early as December, one can dream. I love Reclaim Video, and I don’t nearly blog about it nearly enough.