AMERICA: State of Emergency

Conceived for the David Zwirner Gallery, AMERICA: State of Emergency is a deafening auditory and visual assault on the senses, an immersive environment of chaos and mayhem.

Two perfectly fused NYPD Police Cruisers sit at the center of a series of film projections, which start with one flashing light in the east and slowly take over the four walls with a discordant collage of police cars, fire trucks and emergency service vehicles’ flashing lights and sirens.

The projections gradually build in intensity from thrilling to terrifying as the colors become more hallucinatory, images break down to abstraction, flashing lights morph into dazzling strobes and the soundtrack rises to an mind numbing 120 decibels.

This installation is a machine for accelerating the transformation of news coverage into panic.

The projections use found footage in homage to director Kenneth Anger’s stylized, hypnotic vision. The films mimic public hysteria caused by media over-saturation, causing rational judgement to give way to fear.

The two merged police cars behave as if they are themselves immaterial projections that can pass through each other as easily as light. In a world where the real and the virtual become indistinguishable, the police cars seem to speed through each other, ominously merging into the shape of a post-truth crucifixion accident.

It’s getting faster, moving faster now, it’s getting out of hand,
On the tenth floor, down the back stairs, it’s a no man’s land,
Lights are flashing, cars are crashing, getting frequent now
— Joy Division, Disorder

Concept: John Beckmann
Visualization: 3DRS

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