Step into one of Darel Carey’s art installations and you’ll quickly lose your sense of the room’s actual dimensions, your confused eyes tripping over illusions of ridges and voids that aren’t really there. Using nothing but roll after roll of black electrical tape, Carey transforms ordinary spaces into disorienting, graphic landscapes that seem to shift as you look at them.
Sure, there are easier ways to achieve similar effects – plastering the walls with printed wallpaper, for example, or projecting the images. But Carey prefers the meditative process of hand-taping his designs, and he says the spaces often take shape of their own accord.
Carey calls his method ‘dimensionalizing,’ and notes that it was originally meant to be highly temporary. He’d step in, work intuitively within the space and record himself creating the installation. The resulting images and time-lapse videos were sometimes the only evidence these alternate reality rooms ever existed, since they’d sometimes be taken down within mere hours. Now, he’s working toward installations that last a little longer, like his room at the Museum of Selfies in Los Angeles.
The time lapse videos are fascinating in their own right as Carey “bends space” simply by changing the direction of the tape as well as altering its width to produce the illusion of topography on smooth, flat surfaces.
The work may look mathematical in nature, but Carey tells New Element Art that his work is “mostly organic and freestyle. And the only mathematics involved is naturally applied.”
“I like it when people say they lose their orientation in the space. Because it lets me know that my dimensional lines are doing their job and giving the mind and eye something to ponder.