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Statement

Hella More Funner is an art collective consisting of Sam Fuchs and myself. We have been working together over the Internet since 2007. Our process involves obsessively collecting thousands of images and icons from the Internet and collaging them. Glorified drug abuse, subcultures, fame, overproduction, waste, capitalism, politics, and hyped-up fads are the themes in these convoluted compositions. As we unwittingly developed a religious devotion to modern life’s input overload, the Internet has become our deity.

The work we made in 2007 and 2008 reflects our feelings about living in LA. It represents our squandered time, A.D.D., boredom, apathy, and outrage at the city for being so indifferent. We worshipped its sun, beaches, celebrities, its promise and our potential. We railed against its smog, traffic, hipsters, and goldbrickers. We had a panoptic view of everything that was happening and yet we had no power to affect let alone understand the city’s currents and connections. Our cognitive abilities were in every way outmatched by our growing perceptual powers. When everything is within reach, nothing is special. We were increasingly connected but rarely touched. We were blessed with innumerable choices but floundered in our uncertainty.

After six years of living in Los Angeles I found that I understood it less. Sam has since moved to San Francisco and I to Rhode Island. LA as a place is no longer the source of our anxieties but the culture it manufactures persists all around us. It is in everything that promises happiness and youth, every product that promises the girl, every half naked body selling a cheeseburger.

We view our distraction as a global epidemic—a cognitive plague that threatens to unravel generations of productive and focused thought. A constant diet of distraction through electronic media makes it more difficult now than ever to address serious long-term problems like climate change. That pundits and politicians can compete with just about every relevant scientific body is evidence of our collective inability to filter information rationally. Our objective reality is under attack. As the tides of information rise, the attention required to navigate this shifting reality safely will become our scarcest resource, making it incalculably valuable.

Our wires are crossed, our messages mixed, and anxiety has swelled to inhabit the utterly chaotic world of the Web. Our recent work has become increasingly dense with scavenged Internet images. The work reflects the chaos and insanity of society’s sensory overload, an accumulation of everything and the kitchen sink, yet it is geometrically keen. You will find endless little narratives to keep eyeballs searching and spinning in their sockets. You can prove that you belong to this culture just by knowing what we show you. For those who look at the work and say, “I see some religious iconography, some ominous symbols, some celebrities, and some porn—but I don’t get it.” Great! Good for you! Each piece is the result of innumerable confusions piled on top of and in juxtaposition to one another. None of our pieces add up to any sort of big finish or conclusion. They just add to the chaos. “Look,” we say, “everything is coming undone —isn’t that awesome?” Confused? So are we!

We are the product of our environment and as self-appointed representatives we must tell our cautionary tale. Can you not feel what we represent through our work? Can you not see us behind these funhouse mirrors? Being born into the suburban vacuum of daytime TV plus Disney plus Pop-Punk plus Beavis and Butthead plus Raves plusThe Real Worldplus Techno-Liberalism plusAmerica’s Funniest Home Videosplus Y2K plusSouth Parkplus 9/11 plus Fox News equals boredom-drugs-drinking-cynicism-impending doom-paranoia-heartbreak-neurosis-stupidity-apathy-depression and inaction. We can use this! Do not believe the hype—everything has not been done already. Nothing is dead. Every set of eyeballs makes it brand spanking new. We want to exceed expectations. We will squeeze our history for all it is worth. We are the front line. We lovingly battle and celebrate the coming cultural apocalypse, laughing, crying, and screaming in unison.

At the heart of our work are epic spectacles, displayed in a manner reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch’s disarrayed paintings, that fuse human triumph and folly through juxtapositions of society’s current Gods, from George Bush to Britney Spears to Lil’ Jon. We think all culture exists on the same A.D.D.-addled plane: where political failure occupies the same space in our heads as Lindsay Lohan puking outside a club. After years of watchingFriend’s,Oprah Winfrey, andER, how could anything possibly sink in? “ Like: Chuck E Cheese, Cheerleaders, Cheers, Cheerios, Cheetos, Charley Chaplin,Charley and the Chocolate Factory. . . What’s the difference? Or “Think different,” “Think outside the bun,” “Hungry, why wait?” “Do the do!” “Don’t just feed your hunger, crush it,” “We know how to spell relief: R-O-L-A-I-D-S,” “I’m Lovin’ It.” What are these messages telling us? Why is this crap in our heads?

Who are our influences? Turn on the TV and flip through 900 channels as fast as you can. Don’t blink. Ask us to name infomercial personalities and gangster rappers and we’ll never stop talking. Which is why Hella More Funner is a cathartic project, a way of unburdening ourselves from the 25 years of garbage culture that is engorging our brains. We’ve become mentally obese and this is our ActivOn. “Apply directly to your forehead.”


Cielo 2011
45 x 72" 

Cielois our Nickelodeon nightmare—from green slime to energy drink to blood to meat to bones to chicken grease. Because this is America! This is the age of happiness! You deserve it all. You can have it all. And we are giving it all. We give you everything. Everything we could find and fit before our computer processors melt into our motherboards. We give you electric candles, Glade plug-in s that smell of fresh linen, fantastic-fried-fast-food sandwiches, revitalizing beverages, swirling audio, nauseating video, and what else could you ask for? Tell us and we will find it and we will add it.

Listen now: the audio is a pastiche of American TV shows, yell and sell infomercials, sporting events, political speeches, gansta rap, and rollercoaster rides. Look, this is for you. The animation pans and zooms slowly as dancers wiggle, blood flows, neon strobes, smoke rises, and bodies writhe. Nothing in this image is stable. There are signs that we are losing control of the situation. All kinds of savage hell are breaking loose. Everything is on the brink of devouring itself in the moment of impossible spectacle. This is the moment we have been waiting for. We want you to feel as we do, both omnipotent and overwhelmed. Like a bug with a thousand eyes you see the kaleidoscopic Converse rushing towards you—SPLAT!

As a culture we are bloodletting. We are part of a mass social media focus group. We have been convinced that we have to give a part of ourselves in order to participate, in order to have lots of friends and have fun fun fun. We carelessly spread our images, our lust, our secrets, our scandal, and our precious opinions all across the Internet. Do you know what my favorite bands are this week? How many hits does your profile have? How many people are following your feed? We are the perfect prototype for a generation that will accomplish almost nothing and not wonder why. Our lives are recorded in discarded social networks. Live Journal, Friendster, MySpace, Face Book, Twitter. We are easily distracted, we drool and laugh, scream and holler at everyone and everything else. We can be a new person every day, continuously interesting to the world. Shedding skin after skin we are reborn, naked and energized. We can be cool and accepted if we just try harder, give more blood.

The Internet is littered with our bodies. The blood is evidence of our sacrifice, our offerings. Take it, we want you to know what we are made of—from concentrate. It says right here on the back: “Chock full of grit and artificial flavors.” So we ask you to fill that red plastic chalice and drink up. This special brew is full of electrolytes, corn syrup, sodium, yellow number 5, anti-oxidants, Youthinol, Enzyte, probiotics, guarana, A, B, and C vitamins. It’s snake oil, we know, but placeboes gain power in proportion to the marketing behind them. You will feel free, exuberant, exultant, effervescent, improved, refreshed, revitalized, triumphant, a new person all-together—ready to answer the questions of tomorrow. We guarantee it! No doubt about it. At least that’s what the press release said.

Side effects include: dry mouth, blurred vision, drowsiness, dizziness, sexual problems, vomiting, bleeding from the face and ears, the shakes, the shivers, the tremors, foaming, lock jaw, teeth grinding, hallucinations—including visions of the self transforming machine parade from hyperspace, forgotten imaginary friends, the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and embarrassing sexual experiences in high school.

The Age of Happiness 2010
45 x 72" 

We have discovered that bodies collect eyeballs and clicks. They have the power to send hands reaching for credit cards. Overstimulation is the drug of the future and the machine that is consumer culture will forever find lubrication by putting sex in front of products. The American mindset is increasingly twisted, fragmented, scattered—always wanting more more more. ForCielowe have extracted hundreds of bodies from Renaissance and religious art and conflated them with contemporary images of high fashion, pornography, rims, bling, and other expensive things. We believe the overexposure of impossibly perfect sexualized bodies has led to its obligatory use in selling everything from Gucci to toothpaste. We have adopted the form of Renaissance frescoes, which typically showed people being pulled up into the clouds or dragged down to hell. InCielotortured souls claw their way up from a burning chasm of trash, sleaze, and writhing bodies to a more polished sleaze and product-rich land among the clouds. As in all our work, we aim to deceive the eye from a distance with our symmetric, clean, and colorful world. Underneath is a cautionary tale; thousands of clues pointing toward the hazards of capitalism and popular culture.

Machine Parade 2010
45 x 72" 

You see the Hindu Gods. Look again. No, more closely. They are corporatized Kombucha monsters gone mad. They are the self transforming machine parade from hyperspace. They are the pop-cultural Frankenstein puppet masters. They are the stuffing in beanbag chairs. We will worship them if you do. Landfills of trashed computers and shopping carts wobble into outer space like monuments to human triumph over technology. Did you hear that the newest computer processors are faster than anything ever created and are the size of a grain of sand? Can you believe it? Well it's more true now than ever.

We are increasingly connected to each other through electronic prostheses and invisible structures: self-dramatizing blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, PDAs, satellites, surveillance cameras, GPS, wire tapping, RFID tags, hyper-targeted advertising, Wi-Fi networks, terrorist networks, oh my! Sounds scary, right? We think so too, but we know we must submit to the future, which in our minds looks like a parade of drummers, robots, Native Americans, midgets, astronauts, trash collectors, and men donning biohazard suites. All of them celebrating the world for what it has become: utterly chaotic, disconnected in its increasingly mediated connections. We are the victims of technological progress but we suffer from Stockholm syndrome: We are slaves who love our masters.

Beachy Head 2011
45 x 72" 

Archive

Our nights are spent plowing the Internet, like whales straining biomass, collecting the building blocks for our next composition. Each piece starts with a theme, a simple idea, and then we set out with instant coffee and potato chips or Skittles. I wish we could say that we are methodical, that we cut through cyberspace like lasers, like birds of pray, like the liquid terminator, like the drill of a rock star dentist—but we stray. We want to confess our weakness. We are sinners. “Wide open beavers?” That’s not what I searched for. On the other hand … the Internet is like that, full of temptation. For every gem we must claw our way through endless heaps of filth, sleaze, and annoying animated pop-ups. We turn off our content filters for you. We sully our pure heart and rewire our brains for you. We catch glimpses of hairy Russian men jacking off on chatroulette for you. We think it gives us power but we are wrong. We are not Gibson’s cyberspace cowboys, cybernauts, cyberpunks, wireheads, buttonheads, hippie hackers, or super hackers flying headlong through cyberspace. We are pale and brutish, soaked with sweat and bathed in blue computer light, our mouths reeking of Ritalin are drooling ajar. We are restless and unfit for this world. We are so hungry. We are starving Breatharians—we eat the light omitted from glowing boxes. We indulge in the Internet’s bounty. We will ride this torpedo to the end. We fill our screens, we gorge our hard drives, and like junkies, we are not satisfied.

More is more is more. More pics, more tits, more dicks, more bleeding of our collective lives. We cannot hold onto these files for very long. We forget what they were and where we put them. We have to put them to use. We copy and cut and compose them by the thousands and we own none of it. We do not claim exclusivity. They are only as good as our love for them and the media they are encoded to. They are share ware, creative commons, pirated, private, copyrighted, bought-sold-regained-replicated a million times. Have it. Take it from us. It is no good hanging on our walls. It doesn’t match our egos. It reminds us—a thousand images, a thousand times—of the days and months we spent collecting, cutting, and composing them.

We like it. Oh, you like it too. You can save us. You can pardon our squandered time! You can grant us terminal relief. We are believers but only you can confirm our faith. We are like scribes of religious doctrine. The very act of transcription is worship because transcription is dissemination. We worship and disseminate these images. We will thank you with tears in our wild red eyes. It’s almost too good to be true. We are alchemists now! We have turned dust into boulders with diamonds in them—fragments of our recent past into beautiful art. Call us by our names. We are Google mashers, remixers, samplers, appropriators, and DJs. We are no longer bored and passive viewers—a one way, dead-end feed. We plus you changes everything. Success is assured! We must do it! We are Gods now! We are creators, omnipotent and just. Our vision is unmatched—like eagles we zoom through the world with the stroke of a key, a swish of the mouse. Our memories are 1000 control Z’s long and 10 terabytes deep. We lovingly serve humanity by revealing its hidden structures from our comfortable armchair universes. We can show you. We need to collect your eyeballs.