Cadillac Ranch (1974) is an installation commissioned by Amarillo billionaire Stanley March 3, and created by the Ant Farm. The Ant Farm is a group of artists and architects from San Francisco which produced experimental artworks. Ant Farm uses different art forms such as architecture, performance, sculpture, installation and graphic design while documenting all these on camera in order to spread critical criticism about the American culture and mass media.
About the artwork itself, Cadillac Ranch shows 10 Cadillac vehicles of different models, buried halfway into the mud in a straight row, at an angle similar to the angle of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The 10 different car models serve to show the changes in the tail-fin from 1949 to 1963. The cars were however vandalised with spray paint as they were left there, but Ant Farm would regularly go back to repaint the cars.
“Ant Farm presented a wonderful alternative model where you can love cars and critique them, where the assassination of JFK can be deconstructed, celebrated, and shuddered at, where private passions and public issues can hit a kind of merge lane”
It was to talk about materialism and fame as well, a homage to the rise and fall of the tail-fin as an icon of postwar American consumer excess. The purpose was to make a statement about innovation in a technological era, the American dream and the ridiculousness of consumerism. The founder of Ant Farm, Chip Lord, had a particular fascination for the Cadillac tailfin as a design motif of American futurism, utopianism, desire, seduction and pure style. What initially was meant as a roadside art piece was cleverly tweaked in its meaning to represent the values of the American society.
- My name is
and I’m a space chef
My name is
and I’m a bedtime storyteller
My name is
and I’m a pressed plant collector
My name is
and I’m a sanitary pad tester
Click to see my research!
Click to see my process!
Prior to the start of project one, I did some research on two artistic movements, namely Dadaism and Russian Constructivism.
For Dadaism, it is an art movement in the early 20th century which was a reaction to World War I. It is considered a nonsensical kind of art style which was meant to question the purpose of art, the role of art and the role of the artist. Dadaism also shows mockery to the materialistic and nationalistic attitudes by creation of works to question about artistic creativity. There were works created using ready made objects and this was relatively easy to understand and achieve the goal of dada artists, which was to really question the purpose of art in society like what is considered art. If the art piece which is the readymade object is already made by someone else, then would exhibiting the object itself be considered art? Even if it is considered art, what value would it serve and what message does it bring across? With little to no manipulation of the object by the artist, what then is the role of the artist in regards to the ‘art piece’ itself?
When we talk about dada, we definitely have to look into artist Hannah Hoch regarding her art styles. I was trying to research about her techniques to see if I could apply any of it into my work. Hannah Hoch is a famous German DADA artist and she was one of the starters of photomontage. For her works, she mainly talks about the issue of gender and figure of woman through her photomontages, allowing her to gain popularity in the art scene. She was able to cleverly use unrelated images of cut-outs from magazine or newspapers to combine them into an art piece to create meaningful works. One of her more famous works would be ‘Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada Through the Last Weimar Beer Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany’ in 1919 which opens a discussion about gender issues in the post war Weimar Germany.
Moving on to Russian Constructivism, it is actually an artistic and architectural philosophy. It was the last and most influential modern art movement to actually flourish in Russia in 20th century. The main focus of Russian Constructivism is to replace composition with construction. There were hence creation of works to carry out fundamental analysis of materials and forms of art, leading to design of fundamental objects. The point of the art was to demonstrate how the materials would actually behave to form an artwork according to the type of the material.
The moment I received this assignment, I went ahead to watch the video Grand Theft Avatar by Second Front. To be honest, I was completely lost in the video because I could not understand what was going on in the video. Upon researching and re-watching the video a couple of times, I think I am able to gain a better understanding and appreciation towards the work. The video Grand Theft Avatar was a work created by this group called Second Front, which uses the software of a game called Second Life to create life in this virtual world. In the video, the characters mimicked members from the ‘From Cinema to Machinima’ panel, robbed the ‘Lynden Treasury’ then freed the money and left on hydrogen bombs.
Second Front wanted to explore the virtual reality of the third space and this work was an experimentation by Scott Kildall to produce a work using the Second Life software as an emerging cinematic form. I feel like in a sense it is quite interesting as the work showed the possibility of a creation of a space where different people from all around the world are able to interact online. At the same time, it also opens up a world where everything is literally possible, such as the scene where the characters sat on hydrogen bombs.
The third space is a multifarious web of connections for all who inhabit and explore and share its dimensions.
-Randall Packer, The Third Space
This proves that there are no restrictions to this third space and everything nonsensical can be explored, unlike having rules in the real world to hold us down, providing the experience of a tangible virtual world.