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More zombie art! George Pfau!!!

December 10, 2014

Artist George Pfau is a zombie expressionist. Here is his expressions from a talk he gave this past summer at BAASICS.5: Monsters based on his thesis from California College of Arts in San Francisco.

This blog has referred to George Pfau on many previous occasions. He is perhaps my only fan. He’s taken me to lunch, he’s shown my book people, getting me some press with him and his zombie efforts continue to impress. He is a rising star in the young zombie scholarly art community.

I particularly like this talk. His pacing keeps the tone academicly serious, aided also by the black backdrop and his excellent oil painting pedestaled to his left. The talk hits most of the major points of modern zombie memes as they were last summer, and also displays some of his drawings. I’ve seen some of these before on his website and yet, particularly the very simple one of dotted body outlines, became much more profound by this explanation about bodies and their edge surfaces.

Early on he mentions “grotesque” (recall previously about grotesque in American Literature, particularly Sherwood Anderson’s “Winesburg, Ohio”). Note also Pfau’s mention of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and of zombie dancing, and how that added synchronicity to the zombies (also a sort of synthesized digital lockstep?). Notice his reference to the blurring between groups and individuals which he links to the difference between losing a body part and dying. This is the difference of us and them, of parts and whole.

Where is the whole? Is there a hole in the whole? Consider Zombie French Theory. And more recently, the French philosopher of science Bruno Latour has argued we need a re-conceptualization of the meaning of wholes. Our language is faulty. We see ourselves as separate from our environment. But such cleavages are artificial, socially constructed.

Artificial cleavage? Consider the new comedy from Above Average: “Ghost Tits“?. Identities always includes the word “tities”; zombie tits? Yes, and astronaut fish and other weird animals, see last year’s “Zombie Tits, Astronaut Fish and Other Weird Animals” by Becky Crew, which is now more readily available under the newer title “Zombie Birds, Astronaut Fish, and Other Weird Animals“. Because “tits” was an unacceptable word? Is that because it’s a derogatory word for the female breast or because that particular body part is culturally taboo?

How did we get here? Oh yea, cleavages, and identities, and because I was thinking about bodies and differences and French. Oh the French and their artisanal tongues, wait did I just write “anal tongues”… oh, this isn’t getting better… sorry George, I didn’t mean to turn your talk obscene. Though, recall another young zombie scholar Dr. Bradley Voytek, Ph.D. recently referenced obscenities law to explain the neuroscience of consciousness.

The word “zombie” is itself questionably obscene, against the moral standards for bodily display – that Victorian urge to demand that insides be kept inside. But the style of independent gorefest movies traditionally overlaps with the sexploitation genre, and “prurient interests” are arousal of bodily desires, perhaps not necessarily obviously sexual because sublimated into something else. While we’re still being French, let’s think also of Deleuze‘s “body without organs”, that we are desire-making machines, and the plateaus can go on forever. We can discard the Lacanian name of the Father and become our own Artaud – yes, toads. Ancient voodoo toads. Lick the toad. Lick it. Become “my own grandpa!“, leap like Nijinski.

This is what it means to be young zombie. A parade of references, disjointed category spaces, art expressed through academia, academia expressed through art, homonyms and verisimilitudes, surface structures, a multiplicity of voices, Bahktinian novels with too many authors, with turtles all the way down, singing “Too many cooks” by Adult Swim’s Casper Kelly.

Recall prior attribution to Zombie Millennials but this label has been misplaced (as most zombie false dichotomy category labels are). It’s too easy to assume abstract generational differences when everything is all repetition through oddly connected social networks and time moves at different paces. Zombie ideas flow in a bricolage of memes, faster and faster, some impossible to kill only because they keep reappearing so fast, others insidiously slow but impossible to disprove.

At times it can seem as all our identities are, is but a type of bodily resistance. Eventually the bubbles go pop but the ideas are bulletproof. Viva la resistance. Viva young zombie. Like young money (recall Nicki Minaj be chillin with a zombie and more recently been chillin at SNL where WWZ zombie survivalist Max Brooks got himself fired), the young zombie is part of the old zombie, still talking about the question of the real zombie, because we can’t break free from the slavery of the mind, and the oppression of the minority.

Same as it ever was, cause hey cuz, it never was. Nothing but a dream moment in a Bergsonian ‘duration’. But a Hegelian “nothing”, so ya know, that’s some thing. And the Titan with one blinded eye screamed, “the nothing is eating my brain” but it was actually James Joyce’s Ulysses (as translated by zombie Marcel Proust).

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