September 12, 2016 5:02 pm

Toronto VHS rental store is actually clever art installation

WATCH ABOVE: Toronto artist Justin Broadbent has opened RENT VHS, a 90s era video rental store, in the city’s west end. But the store is not what it seems.


As filmgoers attend the Toronto International Film Festival this week to see the latest movies, one artist is hoping to inspire a feeling of nostalgia by opening a 90s era VHS rental store.

But there’s one catch – it’s an interactive art installation and the movies aren’t actually for rent.

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“I remember as a kid going to the VHS store and in a way it was almost like the first gallery I ever went to because you’re looking at all these images on racks and picking your favourite, flipping them over,” RENT VHS exhibit artist Justin Broadbent told Global News.

WATCH: Toronto City Councillor Norm Kelly rips VHS tapes with Andy Martin at Nathan Phillips Square for a good cause

He is one of several artists on display at the Rally gallery at 12 Ossington Ave. and the exhibit is meant to coincide with TIFF.

Broadbent, who said he likes to focus on forgotten or under-represented items, said the space is meant to get visitors thinking about themselves.

However the store is catching some people off guard.

READ MORE: Man arrested for failing to return ‘Freddy Got Fingered’ VHS rental from 2002

“I had a guy ask me the other day, ‘Why are you renting VHS? It’s so out of date,’” Broadbent said.

“One taxi driver drove by and he stopped and he said, ‘Is it possible to rent a VCR as well? I don’t have a VCR.’”

Broadbent said the store is getting attention in a positive way.

READ MORE: Be kind, rewind: Paying tribute to the VCR

“It’s about you thinking about why you love these things, what film means to you, what nostalgia means to you,” he said.

The space is decorated with older movie posters and there are over 250 movies on display.

On the back of each movie, Broadbent wrote personalized messages to get people thinking, such as, “You used to call me on my Motorola Razr,” which is on the back of the movie Men In Black.

The exhibit is open daily until Saturday.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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