this tape will self destruct
In July 2013 the BBC reported that a Russian security agency would revert from using computers to typewriters in order to avoid sensitive document leaks. The following January The Guardian released a video of its editors destroying the computer equipment that stored the NSA files provided by Edward Snowden. The release of the NSA files will likely be part of this decade’s history, however the debate around government espionage and secrecy for the sake of national security seems more related to the Cold War than to modern living.
This Tape Will Self Destruct explores the intersection between our current techno-political status and Cold War spy fiction. The project consists of an electronic device that prints self destructing documents. The documents are a mixture of images and texts extracted from Cold War fictions paired up with excerpts from current secret documents, resulting in an amalgam that blurs the line between present reality and past fiction. A short amount of time after leaving the machine the documents burst into fire and their content is forever erased as the flames consume the paper. Making the iconic self destructing document real through a functional machine revalidates Cold War fictions in the context of our contemporary values surrounding secrecy.
This project was supported by the Mexican Fund for Culture and Arts (FONCA) through its Young Creators programme.
Electronics, software and chemicals
Juan Manuel Escalante
Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (FONCA)