Saturday, November 24, 2012

Preserving an imagined future from the past, for the real future.

I've always loved Blade Runner. I saw it in the cinema when it was first released, and make a point of watching it a couple of times a year. When I went to Los Angeles, I made sure to visit the Bradbury Building and the Second Street tunnel. Recently, on the kind of whim that often strikes when you are browsing eBay, I bought a copy of it on laser disc.
I was stunned when it arrived- it is a really hefty physical thing, two huge discs in a fairly thick cardboard sleeve.
Now, I own four VHS players but no laser disc player, so it was never going to be for watching. I wanted to display it, to turn it into something different but still true to itself. This is what I came up with.

Tools and materials.

That's the disc itself, sitting with the perspex frame I had made up at a local plastics machining place. The guy  didn't quite understand what I had in mind but he cut the stuff right and only charged me $50.00, so I was happy.

The movie is the director's cut, and plays out over four disc sides. I never knew they did that with laser discs.

And I had no idea of the effect of a camera flash on a laser disc, either.

An expanded view of the perspex- back sheet, front sheet, frame and a bit of offcut to use as a spacer.

The plastic comes with protective paper stuck on it. This is the back sheet, the  frame and the spacer in place, before the paper comes off.

Peeling paper. This bit was kinda fun.

It needs a spacer because the discs are so thick. I want to display it with one disc showing, and that will need some support.

To get it to sit nice and snug like this... needs a spacer underneath the exposed part of the disc. At this point, as more paper came off and the effect of the clear plastic became more and more apparent, I started to realise just how good this thing was going to look. The spacer was glued in place with some Tarzan's Grip glue.

Peeling off more paper.

Fixings- nuts, bolts, washers, hooks. While the perspex itself is very glossy and high-tech, I wanted to reflect the film's own retrofitted industrial aspect by combining that with heavy, almost over engineered fittings.

Top bolt, with hook.

Another shot of a top hook /nut & bolt.

Bottom bolt, with washer. I was worried that tightening these would crack the frame, but they went in fine and tight with no problems.

Pretty much done...

...but the final piece of paper needs to come off the back sheet.

A 6mm steel rod, which I weathered with steel wool, salt and water. And by "water" I mean "I left it in the corner of my shower for a few weeks". Again, I was going for that grimy aesthetic.

The rod sits in the hooks at the top of the frame. This finished item weighs about 10 kilograms- it needs a solid hanging system.

On the wall. My, that plastic is reflective. My heart was in my mouth right then.

Close up of the hanging rod. It's just hooked over a masonry nail.

An indoor shot, showing how the bolts and washers look, and how the frame supports the discs.

Proud owner, not dropping it.


  1. Nice work Trevor! Now you need to do more Blade Runner-themed projects in order to justify having started an entire blog for this one! ;-)

  2. nice, i am a fan as well, and Mel is right, you will have to do more projects now that you started a blog. or at least write about the movie itself or stuff about it. But good look any way.