Apocalypse Now, Maybe Later, or Even Sooner: The Bliss of Prediction
My interest in anxiety hastens to past practice, although, in my Masters candidacy at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, I have come to regard anxiety and panic as a cultural phenomenon, rather than simply a personal affliction. Apocalyptic anxiety — the tendency to anticipate doom — has been a reality of Western civilization since the first rain drops fell on Noah’s holy construction. However, I argue for its enhanced status in post-modern culture. The volatile reality of human civilization, our insecure future, is embodied in dystopian literature, popular cinema of apocalypse and post-apocalypses, as well as the supposed ‘objective’ sources such as media and news.
My work addresses apocalyptic anxiety, using it to propel functions of prediction and forecasting. Borrowing and recycling themes from cultural texts, and current events, my work is not a relational or social gesture, but an eccentric use of these sources for personal gain. Through the re-evaluation of each reference, I am able to appropriate what satirical devices pre-exist in dystopian narrative. For example, the function of embellished reality in creating a fictitious alternate fantasy. In borrowing from fictional sources, I either legitimate their resourcefulness, or, from the perspective that they are somewhat fanciful predictions, my appropriation is in turn quite sardonic. This inconclusive stance is the result of indeterminate research as to whether these sources (novels, films, and media) are catalysts — that is, the cause of cultural anxiety — or, rather, products of an embedded cultural phenomenon.
What distinguishes the utilitarian objects that I make from mainstream design is their alterity of material form and fabrication. In this sense, I am enacting a romantic dissidence — introducing my own narrative consequences and exclusive intensions with the tools. This act, then, inherently critiques a production value of similar appliances that exist in an established market. The result of my artistic process consists of plans, models, sketches, sculptural objects, and skill development in preparation for our imminent end. In this corpus, there is a recurring tendency to emphasize process and method over craftsmanship of final outcome. The objects I create often take the form of assembled found materials, which have an ad hoc and ‘do it yourself’ character. As sculptural objects, they function as intimate windows, or documentation, into my praxis.