As I was tumbling I came across the artwork of Shawn Huckins and his American Revolution Revolution series. With this collection Huckins seeks to question the advancement of technology, and ask if it has truly helped or hurt our way of communicating. He effectively uses 18th century painting and portraiture to make social observations of our newest vocabulary in the digital age. Not often do I lol at a portrait of George Washington, but Huckins work may have elicited a slight giggle. Using facebook status updates, tweets and texting acronyms that permeate today’s popular culture contrasted with prominent figures of the American Revolution he critiques our technological priorities. He claims that “we are enslaved to our smart devices, computers, and social networking sites as much, if not more, than by a distant king.” While many would consider colonial America to be part of a “simpler time” one must also concede to the idea that we live in a very different time than our Founding Fathers and that our political freedom has allowed us to place our priorities on our own self interests. What entertains us rather than what benefits society. Is this what our ancestors fought for?
Huckins’ work doesn’t necessarily condemn, but rather pokes fun at the way technology has changed our lives.
Here are some of my favorites:
Mrs Sylvanus Bourne: So What Your Face (2012)
BF’s Comment: Laughing My Ass Off (2012)
Paul Revere: Whatever
GW’s Comment: Rolling On The Floor Laughing
On this subject we can all take a note from Huckins’ George Washington. Reflecting on the hold technology has on our society, all one can really do is laugh.