The pieces in this series (all my digital stuff) are working on a few different levels at once. I realized from some recent conversations I've had that people may be missing this, so let me elaborate.
Firstly, we find these pieces questioning the original images (I didn't take any photos, these are pictures mined from the internet, robbed from the dominator culture) and often subverting the photographers' intentions. But if my art stopped here it wouldn't be worth sharing. Subversive street art and critiques of the value systems that exist in a consumption-based society have been around for decades and I have no interest in merely adding to that body of work.
The second level, then, which these images try to push on the viewer, is their active incorporation of self-questioning and trickery. Just as they begin to make sense as a simple critique of one set of ideals, that chair is pulled from under us. The "good guys" every bit as much as the evil they rage against - are tossed into the mix and pulled out of their grooves. No one is safe. All are just images, and part-players. Revolutionaries, like the corporate forces they battle, are every bit as unquestioning of more profound and transcendental points about what's going on.
Thus, in pieces like "Heaven 1" we see the challenge to the right thinking police man, but in "Heaven 2" we are reminded that on an ultimate level, everyone caught up in relative battles and questions is just as vulnerable to the fires of sudden contact with the unimaginable.
I, as much as any viewer of this collection, am struggling with this. Many of these are images which I personally am repulsed and angered by: from shopping obsessed models, to people putting rubber gloves on their heads, to soldiers. Each is smuggled in from a different place and made level through certain distortions that cause static images to move, to show that they are alive and about to be sucked behind their own dramas into openness. Circles and other distorted shapes punch holes in many of these pictures for that same reason. They are luminescent alien reminders. Ultimate reality does indeed see each of us as the piece "The Wise" suggests.
This, then, is the final level on which these works exert their magnetism over us. While initially they appeared as complaints, calling out the great and recurring problems of our social orders and vacuous lifestyles, they are, at this deepest level, each full to the brim and overflowing with praise for everything. The joy of reality itself. All of the photographs I've appropriated for this series are part of the same reality as the most profound quotes from the best thinkers (and doers!) I'm acquainted with from Nagarjuna to JD Salinger.
If any of the quotes are true, accurate, and meaningful, they must be so in a way that incorporates these images as well as all others, no matter how disparate or worthless they may appear. This entire collection, then, is at once humorous and dead serious, absurd juxtapositions and a call from the shimmering magic of the antipodes.