Reality Unfolds in an Art Collective’s Sculptural Worlds
Guy Fawkes, TI-83 calculators, ASMR, and the Velveteen Rabbit suck you into the free-standing universes of Bobo.
President Velveteen, 2016. All images courtesy of Bobo and 247365.
The seven disparate, sculptural works currently on display at gallery 247365 take elements from our own reality, chew them up, and spit them out as unrecognizable worlds of their own. Tasky Frameworks is an exhibition by Bobo, a New York-based art collective made up of artists Phil Cote, Andrew Gillespie, and Nick Payne.
Although Tasky Frameworks is a show that one can walk into and immediately become enamored with, the multimedia sculptures are most effective with the accompanying contextual information provided. You can look at the giant cardboard and paper mâché calculator and peer into the devilish figure within the screen in Operational Math Fables and be intrigued, but the piece truly comes to life when you read that the soul of a middle school student is trapped inside the calculator for attempting to cheat puberty the same way he cheats on his Scantron tests.
All the works in the show manage to be familiar in form and in cultural signifiers, but the sum of their parts is almost always a concoction. This is certainly related to the fact that three different creative voices are behind each piece, as well as the ways in which Bobo transitions from idea to final product: “We treat genre as material, and we batch genres into combinations based on group notions around what feels ‘genredelic,'” Bobo explains to The Creators Project. “Once we arrive at a project idea, we try to envision what the participants in those frameworks would or wouldn’t do. The ideas usually get more and more exaggerated as we socialize the thoughts amongst ourselves and draw out imagery.”
Bobo’s unparalleled ability to generate ideas is certainly their greatest and most defining characteristic. Ten months ago, when approached by founders of 247365 MacGregor Harp and Jesse Greenberg, the collective sent a PowerPoint consisting of hundreds of slides with dozens of ideas for unique "worlds." Each of these consisted of a hilarious textual description, followed by a series of mood boards relating to the written concept.
Although only seven ideas made the final cut and became the sculptures in the show, even the scrapped worlds are creative gems: “Nonsocial dumbass who thinks he can become very powerful by listening to self-help audiobooks about becoming powerful,” or, “Sexnse (an EDM musician) plays Nashville at the Grand Old Opry, immediately gets an overhwelmingly positive reception. This transforms all of Nashville and the entire South. The Southern sound of blues and country gets rejiggered into an EDM land of music, forever pixelating the soul of the South.”
Among the pieces that came to fruition, there is Contemporary Azteca Hootche Kootchee, a piece that depicts a “conference of cuddling” for Aztec-revisionists, Timezone Roasters which represents an espresso machine that makes a single cup of coffee every 10,000 eon, and President Velveteen (above) which highlights a US presidential race between the Velveteen Rabbit and the hacker collective Anonymous. Obviously, this results in Velveteen rigging the election.
“We liken the works to storage drives. Seed caskets of compressed information that contain instructions for continued expansion,” Bobo tells The Creators Project. “The information in each of these objects is retained when separated but there is an exchange that happens amongst the works. The are energy systems, currencies, families, and laws that flow between these individual entities.”