Monday, October 26, 2009 - 6:00am - 7:00am
Recita Hall October 26, 2009
Christopher Moore is a Canadian artist and educator whose cross-disciplinary practice ranges from commercial publication design to sculpture and media-based installation. Moore studied illustration at the Ontario College of Art, and received a Master of Fine Arts in Design from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1999. His creative research currently focuses on appropriated digital content, and the emergence of new genres of folk art facilitated by social media applications.
Moore’s recent body of work functions as a direct response to the dangerous social construct of the “citizen warrior”—a means by which culture adopts the rhetoric and psychic burden of militaristic codes. From yellow magnetic ribbons on mini-vans to designer camouflage fatigues, the language of combat has become normalized and is actively exhibited within North American culture. A clear example can be evidenced in the ubiquitous appearance of the phrase “support the troops,” which has transitioned from political mantra to commercial slogan—a powerful sleight of hand used to distinguish political affiliations. Everyday citizens are largely encouraged to internalize and parrot this oversimplified model of conflict, lest one is viewed as anti-nationalistic or worse, supportive of terrorist activities. While propaganda has a long tradition of either pacifying or emboldening communities, there now exist greater levels of sophistication and misdirection, as a direct result of media proliferation and expanded modes of public dissemination.
Moore has illustrated for publications both nationally and internationally, including such clients as the Globe and Mail, Labatt's, DuMaurier, and the Medical Research Council of Canada. For the past ten years, he has taught at a number of institutions across Canada, including NSCAD University, the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University and most recently, he served as the Chair in New Media at the University of Lethbridge. Christopher currently holds the position of Assistant Professor in Design + Computation Arts at Concordia University.
The Cuddle Commandos and Passive Passive Pink projects aim to develop alternative models of combat gear, used to counteract the dominant aggressive tendencies sublimated in typical camouflage patterns and military garb, which have since entered into the fashion lexicon. In a sense, I wish to create an army of “citizen anti-warriors” whose role is to pacify culture, and to draw attention to the institutionalized military codes that go largely unchecked and unnoticed in daily life. The subtle intervention of “cute” domestic animals into the repeating camouflage patterns reveals itself only to keen observers. The resultant effect is both unsettling and seductive, setting up a paradoxical and disquieting relationship to our shared understanding of the alpha male soldier—the indestructible fighting machine. Cuddle Commandos refutes this gender and sexual bias, by allowing the soldier a shield of vulnerability, and by diffusing the hyper-macho mythology of the heroic warrior.