"Mothership", (2013) by Jonathan Monaghan
Mothership, 2013; 15 minute loop, music by Evan Samek, dimensions variable, edition of 3. [c] Jonathan Monaghan
Working with similar techniques used in commercial CGI animation and special effects, "Mothership" seamlessly combines elements from science fiction, video games and art history into a 15 minute cinematic loop. References range from Rainbow Road in Super Mario Kart 64 to German Romantic landscape painting to the Technodrome from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Funny and colorful, almost superficial, but at the same time based on a deep analysis of the history of art and politics, with an emphasis on wealth and power structures. Monaghan reverses the meaning and function of objects and characters, embezzling not only the elements and protagonists of pop culture, and advertising, but also their subconscious strategies that elicit a particular response in us. The immediate familiarity granted by his imagery hacked from our cultural landscape mediates the surreal foreignness of his aesthetic, creating a nightmarish edge in which we remain trapped in an endless loop of seductive but ultimately vacuous simulation where meanings don’t quite materialize.