What is California? What is Puke? What are Nukes?
A nuclear weapon is called a nuke. Like Nike and puke. Nukes are the bomb.
Since the invention of the atomic bomb, the modern world has been defined by the knowledge that life on earth can be eradicated at the press of a button.
Over the decades, the perpetual feeling of being under threat of nuclear destruction and the precarious uncertainty of the future of the human race has had a profound effect on the collective public psyche.
A perpetual stalemate known as Mutually Assured Destruction has served as a proxy for some sort of faith or spiritual understanding. Under this precarious stalemate, Nuclear War became distant, abstract, and theoretical. It took place on paper and in computer simulations.
Cold War Paranoia was a relic from a world with less stuff and more time.
What is Slime?
Slime has long been a source of fascination for mankind. First as a natural phenomenon in the physical world produced by slime molds and amphibians, then later as a man-made substance that has its origins in the development of synthetic polymer and plastic materials starting in the 1920s.
But the first mainstream example of man-made slime for entertainment purposes was in the 1958 film, The Blob. A big red blob terrorizes American townsfolk in movie theaters, diners, a doctor’s office and a romantic look out point.
Some people believed the Blob represented the red menace of communism, others thought it was a metaphor for consumerism.
As the decade got more slimy, it also underwent a sort of mutation.
A Level 5 meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in 1979 and the Level 7 disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 puked up an image of radioactive nuclear waste and visions of mutants that appeared first as traumatic and horrific and eventually as a cartoon.
Nuclear-waste, mutants and slime were now inextricably connected and together contributed to Gross being the dominant trend in children’s toys, cartoons and candy throughout the late 1980s and for most of the 1990s. The themes were grotesque, putrid and rancid but the presentation and feel was seductive, silly, safe, slick...
Oliver Payne (b. 1977, London) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. He received his BFA from Kingston University of Fine Art in London. Solo exhibitions have been organized by Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York, Herald St in London, Frederico Vavassori in Milan, Nansuka Underground in Tokyo, Aishonanzuka in Hong Kong, and 356 Mission in Los Angeles. Payne’s work has been exhibited internationally at the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Kunsthalle Zurich, The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo, MoMA PS1 in New York, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Payne’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Tate Britain in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo. Payne is also the publisher of Safe Crackers fanzine, and organizer of a series of performances titled, "Chill Out" in which he requires all mobile phone and internet systems to be turned off in order to allow the public to immerse in a listening session for “Chill Out,” the concept album by late-80s British house band KLF. The most recent iteration of “Chill Out” was hosted by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
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