Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Albino Hummer

[Image: artist Andrew Junge / Photo Bryan Finoki 2005]

While cruising through the civic center in San Francisco a couple of days ago I stumbled upon this albino humvee casually parked behind the glass of the San Francisco Arts Commission space directly across from City Hall. Was this a new prototype for the artic fronts of the War on Terror? Was President George W. Bush planning a full scale invasion of Alaska now that the Senate recently blocked his bid to drill for oil while trying to piggy back on a defense bill? Could something so traditionally vehicular and monstrous be made this beautiful simply by giving it a bit of polar camouflage? Maybe it was a militarized ghost, a phantom humvee, stationed there to keep close vigil over the political square where an insurgency of homeless dudes have entrenched themselves in a collective snooze for the day, and little families walked their snoopies who liked to poop on the grass instead of the cold concrete. Maybe City Hall's front yard had become all to suspicious, and certainly, suspects like these needed to be watched around the clock. And what better way to spy on your country's own citizens than perhaps behind the guise of an artful gallery display?

[Image: artist Andrew Junge / Photo Bryan Finoki 2005]

Turns out it was a lot more interesting than any of that. In July, Andrew Junge was an artist-in-residence at the site of the Norcal Waste System in San Francisco, which offers monthly stipends to artists who love to dig around for treasure deep in the city's preeminent garbage dump. Since commercial packing foam is neither biodegradable nor easily disposed of, Norcal Waste ends up with tons of styrofoam bone piles each year, entire landscapes of disassembled consumer product fossil-core. Junge first bonded together thousands of polystyrene pieces so that he could whittle down a massive chunk into a life-sized replica of an H1 hummer. The result turned out this gorgeous bleached-white styrofoam humvee-brick rendered in utterly amazing detail, down to the most inconspicuous door handle grooves and keyhole dimensions. The windshield wipers, tow cables, spring suspension coils had been so meticulously crafted they mimicked a certain wear and tear already.

[Image: SFGate Chronicle photo by Christina Koci Hernandez

I'd love to see thousands of these littered all through out California's urban cores, just sitting there idle like an army of consumerist ghosts, vehicular tomb stones, the streets turned into a graveyard reminder of our causes for environmental waste, domesticated war machines; foam core army toys, a lifesized HappyMeal 'action-figure suprise' spilling into a predictable war flick. Instead of those antiquated tiny green play-soldiers, we've got real life frozen white ones posing all over the world with these things, spread 'em out -- get into it, like a kid would -- make recycled bunkers and warzone installations with this stuff. We'll place the foam core army pieces in strategic spots to show we are also keeping watch on them, too. Spying on the spies again as they play real war, mocking the shit out of those oil-farting monsters with no other purpose in the city than to just take up space. So we pile these albinos everywhere. Overnight, drop dozens and dozens off from the backs of huge stealth trucks slithering through black night, wake up to a soft baby rat-white lightweight prepackaged faux-army, poof! Foam core hummers, foam core mercenaries, foam core terrorists, foam core casualties, tip a bunch of foam core missiles off of a rooftop downtown, foam core refugee tent cities amassing below, all just hangin' out together, causin' a total styrofoam invasion. A foam core counter-insurgency. Either Andrew needs to geta little help with this, or we need to get our hands on some sick renderers.

[Image: artist Andrew Junge / Photo Bryan Finoki 2005]


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