Region/Concept: North America, Myth
Sub-Concepts: Apparition, Nightmare, Cliché
Description: Graphic artist Jim Kazanjian generates apocalyptic “hyper-collages” from images found online.
It doesn’t require a whole lot of imagination to grasp the potential for apocalyptic visions latent in the infinity of images circulating online. That a certain improvisatory combination of photos found on the internet would lend itself to the generation of “hyper-collages” brimming with apocalyptic themes cannot come as a surprise. Perhaps even to say, as the artist seems to suggest, that this method of transforming commonplace source images into entry points to deeper realms of experience by allowing them to consume each other and fuse together rhizomatically, finally smoothing out into a landscape of apparitions, resonates with the creative frenzy which transfigures the fragments of daily existence into dreams, is by now too obvious to allow on the page. And yet, if we can take him at his word that these apparitions have the power to manifest the dark dreams of a collective unconscious embodied by the internet, then we are struck by their melodrama, their storybook grandiosity, as if the internet were a sleeping child filled with the clichés and domestic fictions of the evils of a bygone era. Victorian architecture, endless wastelands, water trickling between the cracks of a cement wall, all the atmospherics of desolation and decay, the raw elements of destruction, ideal specimens for a Freudian nightmare analysis. And in this sense Kazanjian succeeds, triumphantly, in the art of crafting enormous composite clichés from the bits and pieces of repetitive and oblivious imagery that forms the molecular substance of the internet (a craft he likely perfected through his previous work in video game and television CGI production). It is precisely in this endless charade of hackneyed images that the true signs of the apocalypse can be found. And so this vision into the void of infinite proliferation of the same grants us an encounter with the last true form of nightmarish sublimity still possible in Western culture: the sublimity of the cliché.