05 February 2007


'The Mythology Of Borders' by Jason Powers

I posted a low quality version of this collage awhile ago. It was done by my friend Jason Powers and it made up the back cover of an old zine I did. Anyway, I was digging through my basement the other day and found a disc full of Jason's collages and decided to share a Hi-Res version.

Looking through the files on that disc, I thought this next one, titled 'Alive With Pleasure' will fit in perfectly with FW#2. First of all, the cooling towers in the background remind me of the cooling towers at Baglan Bay, Port Talbot (see two entries prior), where Terry Gilliam got the inspiration to shoot Brazil. Apparently, Gilliam was on his way to Swansea to campaign against the city's ban against the showing of The Life of Brian (the ban was finally lifted in 1997) when he stopped in Port Talbot and went for a walk on the beach. On the beach he came across an old man with a hand held radio listening to Brazilian music. The vision of an old man trying to escape the industrial nightmare in his background, apparently was enough for Gilliam to start penning, what I consider, to be his crowning achievement. Furthermore, the final torture scene was shot inside the actual cooling towers in Port Talbot.

Port Talbot is a steel town, where everything is covered with gray iron ore dust. Even the beach is completely littered with dust, its just black. The sun was setting, and it was quite beautiful. The contrast was extraordinary, I had this image of a guy sitting there on this dingy beach with a portable radio, tuning in these strange Latin escapist songs like
'Brazil.' The music transported him somehow and made his world less gray.- Terry Gilliam

Upon viewing Jason's collages in the past, I have also felt they share a certain Pythonesque (ie Gilliamesque) aesthetic.

Secondly, Jason's collage is heavy on themes of virtual vs real experience, civilization vs primitive, nature vs technology. All themes I want to explore in FW#2. Speaking of technology, these collages were done by hand and have almost inspired me to 'cut and paste' FW #2 with scissors and glue the traditional way, but I think the temptation of InDesign will soon quell that...

Finally,Jason's collages also remind me of Gee Vaucher's work. Gee Vaucher was the artist behind the anarcho-punk band Crass, who like Gilliam dedicated much of their art to the struggle against the
perceived totalitarianism of Thatcher's Britain and the approach of 1984 (on all levels). On a side note, Crass' last gig was a benefit for Welsh Miners in nearby Aberdare, during the great Miner's Strike of 1984/85. I'll be going into more detail about how this all comes back to The Beach, in FW #2. But for now let's just say a lot of great art comes from very dark places/ times. Or as I like to say, Beauty In the Filth, Prettiness in the Shittiness.

'Alive With Pleasure'

Please click on the collages for better detail.