One man, countless copies of the 1994 Keanu Reeves masterpiece Speed, and quite possibly the most ambitious undertaking of our modern time: The World Speed Project.
Having a purpose in life can be the key to happiness, and Ryan Beitz’s purpose is definitely unique; he’s on a mission to compile every VHS copy of Speed, and so far, he’s amassed a pretty impressive collection as part of The World Speed Project. A Vice profile yesterday revealed that Beitz already has “like 550 or something” VHS copies of the film, and 26 laserdisc editions that he doesn’t count as part of his collection but uses to barter for tapes.
The philosophical resident of Moscow, Idaho explained to Vice how he adds to his ever-increasing hoard:
I don’t want to spend money on this. If a copy’s more than $4, I’ll just steal it. But that’s not going to make me stop. That’d be the same as somebody saying like, “It’s impossible to make the world a good place, so I’m not going to try.” If the idea is awesome, I’m just going to devote myself to it regardless.
The collection has already achieved the impossible—surviving a house fire, chronicled on The World Speed Project’s blog.
Beitz’s ambition doesn’t end with tapes, though. Right now, you can donate to a kickstarter to help turn his 15-passenger van into a replica of the Speed bus (bomb not included, presumably) and help him afford car insurance to tour the collection around the country. Here’s the video:
How does one discover a passion for amassing stacks upon stacks of the same Keanu movie? Beitz originally bought Speed for each of his family members as a joke but became intrigued by the idea of owning multiple copies of one useless item, explaining to Vice, “If you see everything needs a use or an instrumental value as like part of a capitalistic worldview, then the World Speed Project is anti-that.”
He describes the project as an “accidental homage” to The Jerry Collection, one man’s quest to own all the world’s Jerry Maguire tapes. Beitz thinks that the impulse to collect in such an “uncompromising” and useless way stems from mankind’s fascination with repetition:
The World Speed Project is satisfied by a compulsion to repeat because when you get one, you want to get another! And another! And another! Like the bus in Speed, we collectively cannot—and will not—stop.
Compelling words. What tape would you be most likely to collect? You never know what opportunities the VHS Gods might throw at you.