After Our World Ended Show runs Oct 13 to Nov 11 at Mirus Gallery, San Francisco
ShawNshawN(SS): How did the theme of the current militaristic come about? Was it influenced by the new US president or even earlier, say when the US government started to sell MRAPs from Iraq/Afganistan to the police?
D Young V (DYV): The militaristic theme of my work came about nearly a decade ago. The inspiration from this came from a variety of sources. Some of them dealing with the current events of the time, others from a series of different science fiction films dealing with dystopian societies.
My first solo show representing this style of work in 2009 took place in a book store/gallery called Babylon Falling. The concept of this store was to promote revolutionary thinking. Before my show, I had spent countless hours conversing with the owner as he turned me onto literature, art, and ideas ranging from the Black Panther Party to the Cuban Revolution. I had never been a very politically minded person, but spending time there really turned me onto new concepts and aesthetics that seriously informed my work.
The intention of my work was never to not comment on any specific political situation or circumstance, but rather to display a world affected by war, violent change and the hopes of renewal. My attempt was to create a concept that all could relate to in some way.
SS: Which music theme from the show do you think resonate the most with your art? Mirus Gallery was playing sample movie soundtracks from Aliens, The Terminator, and Blade Runner at the opening.
T1000 stripped down in Terminator 2
DYV: The music selection for the show came from a variety of movie soundtracks that informed my work over the years. Blade Runner, Aliens, and The Terminator were some of the soundtracks selected in the playlist. I felt that their deep impactful melodies helped set the mood for the project. Considering the countless times creating work while watching these films, it only seemed natural to use this music in the installation itself. There's not one specific film soundtrack that resonated the most, just the general playlist and mood it set.
SS: Do you think there is a real danger of dictatorship forming in the US or is this in general about the West?
DYV: I do feel that way sometimes and it scares me. Western society is becoming more difficult to live in every year. The rising cost of living, the massive class disparity, the excesses of consumerism and general apathy to our fellow human beings is causing a form of desperation in our culture that could lead to a rise in Nationalistic thinking. I find that the more desperate a population becomes, the easier it is to manipulate. This pattern has been seen throughout history over and over again. It shames me that this may be starting to happen in the US. Things are becoming more frightening than ever, it's easy to repeat the patterns of history.
al about the West?
SWAT at Fuerguson, Missouri - August 2013
SS: Why did you use some legible lettering in your work while others appear to be in a futuristic Soviet style?
DYV: The lettering displayed in my work is meant to represent a culture(s) rebuilding language from the written texts of the past. Though the text has no literal meaning (usually), it's meant to serve a sort of symbolism. I've always been curious of how the future may interpret our society and how they may reinvent themselves based on the relics of the past.
The English words presented in the work are meant to serve as positive affirmations in a world emerging from chaos, or a way of defining a situation or action with that word in a way that that particular word may not commonly be used. I like the idea of people rethinking the ways words are defined and used.
SS: How do you think his show overlaps your work?
ShawNshawN and Erik Niemann at After Our World Ends show
SS: I think my artwork has several parallels to the themes in the show. I lived in Poland during the last year of Communism in 1989, so I got to witness the huge propaganda posters fighting against another German invasion. You have to remember Poland was invaded twice by Germany and the Soviets "rescued" them from the Nazis and a return to capitalism. So I have dived several times into this well of dictatorships in my work. Some of his work is inspired by the Black Panther influence, say the raised fist, which comes originally from Assryia, the first kingdom in Syria. That fist comes up in a work I did on the Syrian Civil War that STILL is ongoing crazy enough. My image is from the earlier days of the war before ISIS started to destroy art history of 1000s of years to impose their religious tenets.
Daraa Drought Drowned by a Bloody Baath - Artist: ShawNshawN (SOLD)