Whilst some believe that true art should be restricted and vaulted away in galleries, I, an obviously more refined individual, do not. What we need is a revolution in the way art is conceptualized. Art is coming for the people, art is raining down all around us, art is constantly coming, and we are being showered in the warm, gooey loving embrace of art, even as I type this. The internet is a freeing and wonderful resource opening up whole new realms of possibility and opportunity, many an intrepid artist has already taken to this medium to share their work. I have sifted through the best and the worst of those, offering to you a selection of the more interesting pieces.
Any truly magnificent piece of art is a core, a feeling or message buried behind a veil of splendour or revolt, travelling to that core and the journey that leads you there is part of it’s transcendent beauty. “Brodyquest” is a short youtube video by the talented artist Neil Cicierega and it is a remarkable duality, as you watch someone else embark on an incredible journey you accidentally find yourself making one too.
The video starts with a shot of Mr Adrian Brody asleep before he is rudely brought into consciousness by the shrill chime of his alarm clock. I believe that this is Cicierega’s way of telling us all that we need to wake the fuck up; snort some coffee, prick our fingers on the thorned sensuality of a rose, it’s high time we stopped wasting our lives asleep people. There is life to be lived and it’s not always easy to just slide right in and see that, sometimes we need a slap. “Brodyquest” is more than a slap, it’s a strong and swift kick to the erogenous zone.
The choice of subject must have been one that pained Cicierega, casting such a role would be taxing for any artist. The part in his piece requires someone who can seem charming, unobtainable, magnificent and distant, the absolute epitome of celebrity. But it also requires them to simultaneously be naïve and sweet with the sympathetic yet intense stare of a lost but determined baby deer. Brody was ultimately the perfect choice and it is thanks to his affably punchable face that the true message of this piece manages to shine through.
Before he even leaves the house it should be noted that Adrian Brody has been sleeping in a room decorated in a manner which leads one to believe it belongs to a teenage girl, it reeks of that awkward twee stage when a girl is blossoming from girl to woman. I believe this message is twofold, firstly it highlights a moment in our lives where we first thought we’d got it all figured out. That moment as we emerge from the ass-end of puberty, sparkling and resplendent, reeking of newly awakened sexuality, we look at the world and the world looks back at us, and for the first time we think we understand it all. Secondly I think Cicierega is again using it to highlight the bizzare relationship we have with celebrity; example in point how we will always see Emma Watson as that little girl from Harry Potter and never as the shapely, radiant, beautiful woman she has become. The comparison between the two seems to be somewhat of a hang up for the media, that creepy, dirty feeling they get as they lick their lips salaciously, staring straight into the perfect example of blossomed femininity and yet finding it impossible to stop themselves picturing the innocent, lost face of a minor as they desecrate her with their minds is one that leaks into every tabloid piece written about Miss Watson. We use celebrity and fame to build up these deities, and delight in pulling them back down. Like a child in a sandbox who every time he builds a castle finds the urge to stamp it out unrestrainable, Cicierega is trying to bridge the gap in this divide, by saying, “hey look, we all used to be children, and yes now we are adults and some of us are super sexy, but can you just like not keep going on about how the person I’m currently sporting a throbbing boner for used to be a kid, because it’s totally creepy”. Right on Cicierega, right on.
Now ‘awakened’ Brody can begin his journey, he leaves his house, and then the city all together in an effort to get in touch with himself, his spirituality and with nature itself. If you check frame by frame the observant eye can notice a small degree rise in Brody’s dazzling smile, in any shot that depicts Brody with an animal. This is an obvious statement on how far removed we are from the natural order and the true essence of what it is to be human. We have cocooned ourselves in cities and thick walls, separating us from our animal brothers and all the blessings and teachings they could bestow upon us. After he walks through an ocean Brody is accompanied by two starfish which obviously identifying with Brody’s earnest quest to better himself, follow him for the rest of this epic. I believe the starfish to be his familiars and he shares a connection with them, stronger than any bond a mere mortal like us could ever hope to achieve, but seeing their amazing companionship could inspire even the coldest heart to love, and to find and give comfort in the arms of another.
After travelling all around the globe in an effort to find himself it is time for Brody to look elsewhere for answers, he has literally been to the depths of the ocean, travelled the globe and been to every world wonder, yet he still feels empty, he still has this ravenous hunger that only the truth of existence will satisfy, so he takes his quest into outer space. Here is where my opinion splits on the meaning of the piece, either Cicierega is using space as a metaphor for the self, saying that we truly have to search the very blackest and most vacuous recesses of our soul for an answer, or else he literally means the answer cannot be found on this Earth, this plane of existence, we must return to the stars of which we were born, diving head-first back into cosmic oblivion.
After this we see Brody’s face pelted with strobe lighting and the constant repetition of his name which I believe represents the camera flashes and calls of the paparazzi, he seems to be blinded at first and his eyes turn completely white, but then they subtly begin to glow and you understand that this is synonymous with wisdom or existential awareness. The message is a simple one, that even Adrian Brody, crippled by celebrity and the life of luxury can reach this nirvana of consciousness.
We are all Brody, each and every one of us, there is a little Brody in all of us, and we are in him, because there is an unidentifiable but undeniable force that connects us all as brother and sister. We are all beautiful minds just waiting for that divine touch, Neil Cicierega wants us to realize that, and to spend a little time figuring out just how we can get there. For Adrian Brody that means nonchalantly strutting into and out of the other side of the Sun, wearing his star shaped consciousness as sunglasses and playing a sonorous but guttural sonata upon his star shaped guitar, letting the universe know that he is Adrian Brody and he is a god! What does your own discovery quest look like? Maybe it’s about time you found out.
Words by Cuthbert Cunningham