Astronauts and Dinosaurs: sci-fi/consumerism art by Scott Listfield

American artist Scott Listfield’s Astronaut Dinosaur series is a breath of fresh air in the world of traditional painting (even though the series started in 1999) tackling pop culture and consumerism in using a traditional art method.

No one explains the series better than Listfield himself…

I paint astronauts and, sometimes, dinosaurs.

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was released in 1968, well before I was born, so I have no firsthand knowledge of how it was received. I don’t know if people really believed we’d be living in space in 2001, if we’d have robot butlers and flying cars, geodesic lunar homes, and genetically reconstituted dinosaurs helping or eating us. But from Lost in Space to the Jetsons to Jurassic Park, it seems that popular culture has fostered this space-age perception of the future. Generations raised on these TV shows, movies, comic books, and novels are now grown and living in a future filled with mini vans, Starbucks, iPads, and Hip Hop videos. In many ways, the year 2001 failed to live up to expectations. And yet the world today is peculiar in ways unimagined in 1957, when Sputnik was launched, or in 1968, when 2001 was released, or even in 1994, at the dawn of the internet. The present is in fact a very unusual place, and it’s strangest in the ubiquity of things we take for granted.

The astronaut in my paintings is simply here to explore the present.

PSYCHO-PASS

Words cannot describe how excited I am to start Psycho-pass, it’s next on my list and will most definitely require a full day of duvet and tea so I can marathon it out. From what I’ve read online it’ll be something like a combo of Dredd’s weaponry / themes of future oppression and surveillance meets Minority Report’s ideas of violence and punishment for future crimes that are yet to happen. Let’s hope my impression is right!

This post is just a quick collection of Psych-pass content before I begin and to give you fans some great imagery and videos.

The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality. This information is recorded and processed, and the term “Psycho-Pass” refers to a standard used to measure an individual’s being. The story centers around the “enforcement officer” Shinya Kougami, who is tasked with managing crime in such a world. In the future, it is possible to quantitatively measure a person’s emotions, desires, and every inclination. In this way, it is also possible to measure a person’s criminal tendency factor, which is used to judge criminals.” myanimelist.net

Beautiful New World: Contemporary Visual Culture from Japan – Exhibition catalogue

You can read the catalogue is online here

Beautiful New World is an Art exhibition that focuses on the idea of a new world, along with the 21st century came a great expectation of peace and growth in Japan, but it soo became the most violent and destructive time in recent history. Whilst WWII was harmful, post war provided great growth for Japans economics. However in the last 30 years Japan has suffered from some horrendous events such a earth quakes, tidal waves and economy crashes. Influenced by the theme of a new world which is so current in Manga, the world being destroyed and trying to rebuild itself is featured in thousands of manga stories, these art pieces comment on the lust for a better place, an escape from reality which is so predominant in Japanese pop culture. (off the top of my head I can think of 3 or 4 manga series I have read where creating a new world is the main theme.)

The exhibition itself features the work of 34 creative people, spanning across all art forms, and is divided into 3 sections, Beautiful real world, New media world and End of the world and future world.

Section 1
Beautiful Real Wold @ Long March Project

The main theme of this section is understanding beauty and reality. Question both of their meanings and re-exploring how we understand them. The pieces are based on the representation of females in Contemporary advertising and fashion shoots. It also takes direct influence from manga..

Japanese manga and animations that illustrate gender-specific features in the boy’s world / girl’s world; and works that focus on “kawaii” culture, as well as the personal world-view of hitori-asobi(solitary play) that deviates from this culture.

Some of the exhibited work:

Teppei Kaneuji

teenage fan club #5. 2007.
plastic figure,hot melt adhesive
25x12x37(h)cm

This piece by Kaneuji Teppei has a direct reference to Japanese popular culture, using the brightly coloured structured hairstyles which feature in anime and manga to create a Big foot type creature.

Paramodel

Paramodel is an “art unit” formed in 2001 by Yasuhiko Hayashi (2001 Fine Art graduate from the Kyoto City University of Arts) and Yusuke Nakano (a Nihonga [Japanese-style painting] graduate from the same university). Their title comes from the combination of the words, “Paradise” and “model”, and the fusion of these two concepts is essentially the launching point of their creations. Although the unique talents and interests of these two individuals hardly ever intersect, they manage to work in parallel towards the same vision of constructing intricate models of Paradise using toy parts, like plastic train tracks and mini-cars. Engaging in this poetic, yet paradoxical practice of remodeling paradise, this art unit presents their visions in a variety of media, including installation, objets, animations, painting, sculpture, and photography. –www.azito-art.com/paramodel/

These pieces by Paramodel play on the miniature culture within Japan, the sushi presented on the truck plays on the idea of Kawaii culture within Japan, the need for everything to look cute and sweet.

Go Watanabe

“face (“portrait”) -8″, 2006, digital print, translucent film, light box, h.135 x w.123 x d.20 cm

All featured artists:
Aida Makoto, exonemo, Kaneuji Teppei, Konoike Tomoko, Kusama Yayoi, Murayama Ruriko, Nishiyama Minako, Odani Motohiko, Okazaki Kyoko, Paramodel, Sawa Hiraki, Shimabuku, Takamine Tadasu, Tanaka Koki, Ujino Muneteru, Watanabe Go, Xijing Men (Ozawa Tsuyoshi, Chen Shaoxiong, Gimhongsok), Yanagi Miwa

Section 2
New Media World @ Inter Arts Center

The art of new media has changed the ways in which we view the world. The works that tune into the new possibilities of communication and physical sensibilities are becoming ever important in considering contemporary society; such works take interest in what effect technological development in images and sound has on human sensations. The idea that perceives human relationships, or relationships between human and the environment as fluid, rather than predetermined, could be the driving force behind such developments. The works to be on exhibit in this section encompass a broad range of works, including not only those works that incorporate new technology, but also those that relate to the urban environment, fashion, and objects. – Taken from the online catalogue

some of the exhibited work:

Hiroshi Fuji

 

Hiroshi Fuji’s work looks at consumerism and a culture who chuck out anything that isn’t up to date. His sculptures are made from discarded items, he tries to take unwanted objects and turn them into something interesting. All the parts are childrens toys.

All featured artists:
Atelier Bow-wow, doubleNegatives Architecture, Tsumura Kosuke, Fuji Hiroshi, Ikeda Ryoji, Oshii Mamoru, Yokoyama Yuichi, National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)

Section 3
End of the World and Future World @B.T.A.P.

This section touches on the deep-seated apocalyptic world-view in Japanese society and culture, together with the visions for the future that are projected as result. The apocalyptic world-view is shaped by the disintegration of society and the collapse of urban cities, caused by natural disaster, war, and genocide as such, as well as death and the fear of facing death, while the visions for the future are projected in forms of cities in rejuvenation and futuristic cities. Some of the works in this section signify eternity and sustainability in relation to these themes. – taken from the catalogue

some exhibited work

Hatakeyama Naoya

Hatakeyama Naoyas stunning landscapes toggle between the destruction of the world, juxtaposed with landscape photos with no sign of human life, making us think about the beauty of the world, and putting us in the position of imaging a new world.

Yanobe Kenji

– Project Viva Riva – Sutanda
2001 200cm × 200cm × 300cm
aluminum, brass, motors, other monuments (Revival) Play arose from the “ruins of the future.” Work was born doll suit atom was picked up in the ruins of the nursery of Chernobyl, the sun that had been painted on the wall has become a group. Doll rises senses radiation 20 times, objects located beyond the line of sight of the sun shine at the same time. Stand up on two legs is also a big step in the process of human growth and human evolution.

Tomoko Yoneda

An End is A Beginning – Tokyo, , JP – 2008-09-12 until 2008-11-30

Tomoko Yoneda’s photographs of an end is seem less kitsch and colourful as some of the work in the exhibition, however it’s message is strong. Unless accompanied by it’s title the photo holds no real connection to the idea of a new world, but with the title we imagine we have reached an end of a story, perhaps a family or couple fleeing to the new world after a long series of events.

All featured artists:
Fujihata Masaki, Hatakeyama Naoya, Miyajima Tatsuo, Miyamoto Ryuji, Ohmaki Shinji, Urasawa Naoki, Yanobe Kenji, Yoneda Tomoko

The exhibition as a whole

There is no doubt that this exhibition would have been one worth seeing. Rarely are so many forms of art in one place, the interesting idea is that all artists work is based along the idea of a Beautiful New world, but each result is completely different, and that the repetitive use of a new world narrative within Manga has a big enough influence and has become such a big part of japanese pop culture that many artists are using it as their influence for work.

 

augmentation of the human body

Wikipedia describes this as –

Human enhancement refers to any attempt to temporarily or permanently overcome the current limitations of the human body through natural or artificial means. The term is sometimes applied to the use of technological means to select or alter human characteristics and capacities, whether or not the alteration results in characteristics and capacities that lie beyond the existing human range.

The futurism movement was concerned with this, the human body can be enhanced by technology.

Here are some inspirational images on human enhancement

Believe it or not this is real, ‘Eyeborg’ is a man who has a camera for an eye.

read more about him here
or watch his video…
WARNING THERE AS SOME GRUESOME SCENES IN THIS VIDEO

These images and video have made one thing clear to me, do I take the clinical surreal approach? connoting the surroundings of a futuristic room/ surgery. Or do I take the documentary approach?

the more clinical approach could have a greater impact, but the documentary approach might suggest normality and the clock shows routine which could be a comment on how normal this will be in the future? I think I need to film some stuff and then ask people which one evokes a stronger atmosphere.