Imagine a Ford car. You conjure images of soccer practice—carpool replete with moms wielding orange slices, or a Big Mac at arms reach in the drive-thru, or simply the blurred Midwestern landscape as you haul your sister to state school. Now stop. Ford doesn’t like that.
To rid its new Ford Fusion of nostalgia and Americana, our quintessential car manufacturer has collaborated with Milk Studios to produce “Wall to Wall: The Fusion Collective,” a gallery featuring original work by five multimedia artists. “‘Wall to Wall’ is going to be a modern show of sculpture, sound, paint, projections, choreography, film, light, music and automobiles that mixes the highly conceptual with the highly entertaining,” said Geremy Gasper, co-founder and creative director of LEGS, Milk’s in-house creative and production company that curated the show.
LEGS has tapped talent ranging from Matthew Williams, formerly Lady Gaga’s creative director and currently art director for Kanye West’s Twitter-conceived creative agency DONDA, to hip-hop polymath Pharrell Williams. The show also features the work of Nathaniel Brown, Enter the Void’s disembodied protagonist turned fashion photographer, LA-based dance/multimedia collective WIFE, visual artist and musician Brian DeGraw and Item Idem, whose work combines conceptual art and the perversion of fashion marketing and retail design.
The artists were inspired by the concept of fusion and Ford’s evolving design canons. Some artists play with Ford’s physical components. Item Idem combines everything from dangly air fresheners to car frame carcasses, gutted and reconstructed to create a sculpture that harnesses the spirit of the automobile. Pharrell Williams takes a similarly tangible approach by presenting a documentary on Bionic Yarn, a durable fabric made primarily from recycled water bottles, which Ford likens to certain models of the new Fusion, featuring seats made from recycled plastic water bottles (and hopefully featuring cupholders for other plastic water bottles).
Other works are more emotional, appealing to the senses. Matthew Williams envisages fusion through the symbol of a rose. He uses digital technology to explore elements of natural and artificial roses, from screen-grabs to scans to distorted iPhone videos. Nathaniel Brown immerses the viewer in a three dimensional projection of machines and nature. It culminates in “a fantastical view of the birth of the first woman in the universe,” says Brown. “It illustrates the creation of life via machines creating a supernova.”
It may not be intentional, but iPhone videos, plastic water bottles, and Pharrell Williams all trigger that pesky lobe in my brain reserved for American nostalgia.
Drive (er, walk) through “Wall to Wall: The Fusion Collective” at Milk Studios in New York this week, or in Los Angeles on August 29th.