American Tapestry is a series of works that depicts American art, were nuclear bombs dropped on the US during WWII.

The works themselves are illusions. They’re fully digitally manipulated images rather than real, melted and burned pieces.

They feature everything from melted porcelain…

…to pixelated (even censored?) works.

It’s an exploration of distortion on whole, rather than in any one particular approach…

…as well as the nature of truth in the world of digital manipulation and reproduction.

…as well as the nature of truth in the world of digital manipulation and reproduction.

…as well as the nature of truth in the world of digital manipulation and reproduction.

…as well as the nature of truth in the world of digital manipulation and reproduction.

Co.Design

America’s Art, If The Nuke Fell Here Rather Than Hiroshima

Chad Wys imagines an "ode to America" that considers our beauty and brutality in one.

It’s easy to look at our triumphs—to celebrate democracy, free speech, and relative abundance (even amidst economic turmoil)—and forget that World War II was so recent, to block the bombs and the internment camps so conveniently out of our minds while sampling the latest innovation in probiotic froyo.

And that’s a point largely explored by artist Chad Wys in his collection American Tapestry. It’s a series of digitally altered works, with a focus on melted porcelain and burned paintings—destroyed cultural artifacts.

"I wanted to create an ode to America. The manipulation of the art and decorations represents a nation’s ability to both produce beauty and to engage in brutality. I wanted to observe representations of both at the same time," Wys tells Co.Design. "In the back of my mind, the ‘melted’ American porcelain is meant to represent what might have happened if the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs had been detonated over New York or Chicago instead."

It’s a disconcerting thought that’s never more than a stone’s throw from any superpower since the dawn of the nuclear age. We used to worry about Russia. Now it’s Iran. While Wys’s work is largely nostalgic, it’s not hard to imagine modern nuclear fallout, and a melted iPad conveying a similar idea for 2012’s political climate. Our beauty is constantly protected by brutality.

Rather than modernize the object to have contemporary relevance, though, Wys explores different means of distortion. Melting is one. Burning is another. But interestingly enough, pixelation sits right alongside these more violent distortions. It’s a particularly salient point when you realize that American Tapestry doesn’t contain any real objects, not really. Each piece is a digitally manipulated print rather than a tangible, melted or burned object.

The viewer may see classic destruction and decay, but it’s all swimming in the larger theme of modern deceit.

"I’ve employed a kind of digital trompe l’oeil; an aesthetic deceit that was en vogue in American art around the times the paintings and objects referenced in this series were originally crafted," Wys explains. "For me, though, the digitally reproduced image is the most culturally dangerous of all since it’s so inherently malleable for any purpose."

Ultimately, Wys’s work brings up so many themes that it’s wildly difficult to dissect. But the final effect always seems to be the same: Whether a product of violence, censorship, or age, everything is ruined sooner or later. Or maybe it was always a little bit tainted, and we just didn’t notice.

See more here.

[Hat tip: The Creators Project]

Add New Comment

2 Comments

  • PorkChop

    Well, when Japan apologizes for brutally torturing/killing 35,000 of our troops on the Bataan death march, their Surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and their philosophy that it would be better to Die than surrender maybe we can explain why it was necessary to resort to nuclear weapons.
    Now that they are so noble and peace loving, they should be able to digest this and get on with reality.

  • Kharsin

    I just don't understand this type of thinking. War is a terrible thing and the A-bomb a terrible weapon. However, history shows that it was the best way to achieve victory with minimal casualties. I fear the direction this nation is headed... 

    In his radio address August 9, Truman said the United States had used the atomic bomb "against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans. We shall continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan's power to make war. Only a Japanese surrender will stop us."Here's a look at the facts surrounding the end of WWII, and let's not forget, they started it. http://www.afa.org/media/enola...