Artist Feature | Evan Desmond Yee
Evan Desmond Yee is a relatively young but accomplished contemporary artist from Oakland, CA. His work traverses many mediums from painting to sculpture and discusses topics of popular technology as well as utopian idealisms of today. He is most known for creating "The App Store" which is made up of multiple original pieces such as the "Nocuous Riff", the "iFlip" and the "#PinwheelofDeath". Some of his notable collectors include Kanye West and Donna Karan.
We are thrilled to have Evan create work for The Sonic Jungle! He was kind enough to answer some questions for us about his work, sustainability and the future of our planet which are written for your viewing pleasure below:
1. In your recent work, you exhibit the recurring theme of technology through a satirical lens and play a lot with past vs. present. Will your installation for The Sonic Jungle continue to speak to these concepts? If so, how?
Working with the subject of technology, I try and touch upon the nature of humanity. By using icons and symbols from current popular culture and recombining them with dated objects and imagery, I hope to create a more vivid picture of our species. Using these concepts of past vs. present hopefully allows the viewer to ask questions about our future.
The theme of the Sonic Jungle combines technology, nightlife and health and wellness. It's a very Utopic vision that I think is really fitting with the type of work that I do. For this event, we're going to portray an age old symbol for eternal life, but with a twist. I don't want to give too much away, so rather than tell you what it's going to be, I'll reveal what I'm thinking ;)
Humans have always been on the search for prolonged life. Death, has always been a challenge of nature that we've wanted to overcome. While age old searches for eternal life have resulted in dead ends and war, technology seems like an avenue in which prolonged has proven feasible and a-mortal life may have a chance at feasible. It's this sense of technological optimism that I want to portray for the Sonic Jungle.
2. What kind of materials will you use to build your Installation at The Sonic Jungle?
I want to use a combination of natural materials and manufactured. For one piece it will be lava stone, steel and light. Another will be aluminum, glass, LED's and plants.
3. What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability isn't just good, it's imperative. What I feel it's supposed to mean is living as a human being and taking the steps to offset the affects of living our lives on this earth. But this isn't what I think of anymore when I hear "sustainability". It's lost it's gravity as a word, and instead has become a buzzword, a trend, a market value. When I hear "sustainability" it slips in one ear and out the other. When I see "un-bleached" paper packaging, when I eat "grass" fed, when I use "green" fuel, then I order it all next day on amazon, I wouldn't call that sustainable of its original meaning. I would call it desirable.
4. How do you think technology is affecting our human connection to nature?
Hmm. Technology has always been a more than double edged sword. On one edge technology is going to nuke the world, on the other edge it's decreasing our dependence on non-renewable energy, on another edge it's allowing us to understand ourselves in relationship to the world and our universe, on another edge it's allowing us to communicate with each other faster... etc.
I think I'm going to take the optimist's route on this one. Consumer technology, phones, computers etc. are increasing the way we understand ourselves and our world through numbers and data. For the first time in history we are able to analyze the way that the entire population of humanity works, moves and shifts.
"Through advancements in biotech we are learning how to integrate regulating systems into our bodies and other biological systems around us. This forefront of this technology is definitely improving our connection and understanding of nature."
5. We believe that imagination is powerful. If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. We strive to imagine a better tomorrow. Describe your vision for the future. (Short term being 5-10 years, long term 40-50 years)
My vision, and I think a lot of people's vision of the future changed after November 7th. Where I saw solar I now see a pipeline, where I saw social equality I now see systematic oppression and racism. I think we've be hearing this a lot, but I'm relieved to know that in New York I'm around many people with progressive beliefs.
5-10 years: We'll be riding the upward curve of Moore's Law where computing power will bring us to new heights in automation and connectivity. Self driving cars will correct human error, motor-deaths, increase efficiency of overall activity and decrease use of fuel. Virtual reality will allow us to escape to into fantasies, socialize remotely, empathize. The iPhone 12 will be much sleeker, thinner, faster and have a 360 degree camera.
40-50 years: We'll be knocking on Mars' door. We will have completely replaced drivers with automated cars. Biotech will allow us superhuman ability. Asteroid mining will allow for virtually endless supply of raw materials. Sustainability will be sustainable. Bags won't be necessary.
Idealist? Nah. Let's make it happen.