Aloha, Business Casual
We talked to the artist Nicole Reber about her new exhibition of politically charged Hawaiian shirts.
Photographer Zak Arcander on Butterflies, Raves, and Being Alive
What defines an American perspective today? What does an American look like and more importantly how does an American look? Our society privileges the self, it is a culture that valorizes consumption and idealizes “self actualization”. In short, we live in a society that dictates humans as agents of desire. It is from within this infrastructure that we struggle to create and foster communities. In a self-centered social order, where do we come together and what do we gather around? Although there may not be one succinct answer, all of us are looking for it. If there is a common subject within Zak Arctander
’s images, it is that of the pursuant gaze, a subject in a relentless search for the often intangible object of its desire. I sat down with Zak to talk about butterflies and being alive.
VICE: Tell me a little about your background.
Zak Arctander: I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, a place called Arlington Heights. I made skateboard videos throughout high school. My parents and my sister are all artists.
How did skateboarding videos lead you to the work you make now?
When I was filming/photographing skateboarding it was pretty similar to how I work now. The street was the stage for the drama; I was freezing and framing action. What is different now is I’m not so closely collaborating with the people I am photographing. They are mostly strangers that I encounter briefly.
It is clear from the images that your subjects are being captured in moments of telling inbetween-ness: not a decisive moment, but the fugue state between. There is a darkness that pervades the images, a darkness that seems to be located in relation to human desires. Are you ever disturbed by the images you create?
Disturbed isn’t a word that ever really crosses my mind. I have felt shaken. I definitely think about desire and how everyone is reaching for something outside of themselves. It sounds sort of ridiculous but when I consider what I’m after I still turn to Delillo’s phrase “magic and dread.”
Jamie Warren’s Self-Portrait as Pennywise the Clown with the Blob, Jason, Freddy, Chucky, the Leprechaun, and Basket Case in Recreation of the Nativity Scene from the Vyšší Brod Altarpiece (1350), 2014.
Jaimie Warren made this photograph for the 2014 VICE photography issue. We asked performance artist Joseph Keckler, who plays Freddy Krueger in the picture, to provide us with a little more context for Jaimie’s work.