Tape Head by Akua Amankwah-Ayeh

Akua Amankwah-Ayeh
“Tape head”
Short film

A tape head is the part of a cassette player that converts the fluctuations in the magnetic field generated across the surface of a tape into electrical waves.  A tape head is also a person who collects and trades videotapes and cassette tapes.  

This is a short narrative movie shot on a consumer-grade camcorder.  I rely on the people and the environments directly around me:  the actors are my roommates and the entirety of the movie is shot outdoors using natural light.  It is a story about music, sound, and film taking control over a person.  It makes her move and it changes objects in her environment.

The images are a combination of my own video and public domain footage.  The soundtrack is made up of sounds from those videos and a song by The Space Lady Susan Dietrich, a street musician who wears a silver plastic space helmet and sings covers and originals accompanied by a Casiotone MT-40.  It is not the presence of the music itself, but the bizarreness of it - uncanny lyrics performed in an unorthodox style with sparse instrumentation - that is the key of the movie.  


Film stills:
TAPE HEAD - film still


TAPE HEAD - film still


TAPE HEAD - film still


VADA Senior Exhibition 2021