The Propeller Group, ‘AK-47 vs. M16, The Film’, 2016, Singapore Art Museum (SAM)
The Propeller Group, ‘AK-47 vs. M16, The Film’, 2016, Singapore Art Museum (SAM)

'AK-47 vs. M16, The Film' features the Soviet-made AK-47 and the American M16 as the
protagonists in a feature-length film that explores the influence these ubiquitous instruments of warfare have had on popular culture, and indeed the imaging of conflicting ideologies during the Cold War.

Slicing and splicing together scenes from Hollywood films, documentaries, news reports, and found footage from the Internet, the film is edited to intensify the ‘movie star status’ of these two weapons used to kill and maim, whilst simultaneously relegating the human thespian to the position of a prop. Composed this way, 'AK-47 vs. M16, The Film' raises questions about the aesthetics of violence and the violence of aesthetics.

Image rights: Courtesy of The Propeller Group and James Cohan, New York

About The Propeller Group

Since 2006, Phunam, Matt Lucero, and Tuan Andrew Nguyen, aka The Propeller Group, have been merging visual art and mass media production to erode our trust in the images we are fed—through branding, marketing, and other forms of propaganda. As they describe: “We’re invested in trying to understand how ‘image’ is produced […] the public image as produced through media and advertising, and the creation of meaning and social affect.” Appropriately, they work out of studios based in Ho Chi Minh City and Los Angeles. As former graffiti artists, The Propeller Group brings a streets-eye perspective and guerilla approach to all of their work. Their projects include Television Commercial for Communism (2011), in which they challenged the world’s top advertising agencies to re-brand Communism, resulting in a frighteningly anodyne commercial that whitewashes the tragic ramifications of this infamous ideology.

Vietnamese & American, Founded 2006, based in Ho Chi Minh City & Los Angeles