We are at a point in the States now where all media outlets are reporting the same things (perhaps for the first time in years). This is not political anymore. Nations are closing their borders, children have no school to go to, and there are not enough tests for people who think they may be ill. It is as if we are living in a film. A surreal X-files episode to some, and perhaps a government conspiracy drama to others. However it shakes out I have to admit that I have always gravitated to dystopian themes, whether it be photography (image above from gatefold LP of PJ Harvey’s Hope Six Demolition Project) or films and tv shows. I absolutely treasure the visuals and scores from Nolan’s Batman Films, the Bladerunner franchise, and one-offs like The Road, I Am Legend, and Book of Eli. The concept of societal collapse is incredibly scary and intriguing at the same time. There is a safety belt that you can buckle into when viewing such scary ideas thru the lens of fiction, like I did when I was introduced to The Terminator during the nuclear arms race and cold war period of the 1980’s.
The good news is that I feel GenX ‘ers are more ready for this social distancing and home quarantine than anybody. We grew up on microwave foods and board games during the 70’s and 80’s, so the idea of going back to a time with no internet and riding around on bikes without wearing helmets isn’t so scary. What can be scary is trying to reassure your young child. When we are settling into the reality (or at least trying to), we don’t really have a story to tell when we are asked “what did you do”. The truth is that the Corona Virus is happening to us all, and all the folks who tried to compare this to Ebola and Bird Flu are finally settling into the new reality as well. There is no longer a “well when this happened years ago” story to tell. We are in unchartered waters, but I am still reaching for that safety belt.
Here are a few shares of pop culture that have influenced me and my crazy creative mindset over the years.
THE WALKING DEAD
Societal collapse backstory from a unknown disease that creates zombies from the dead. This survival series was a weekly ritual-holiday in our home for years. It left such a mark on me, I am currently checking the news after waking to see if any virus casualties have reanimated overnight.
Like an old bestie of mine plainly described, “every frame of this film is like an oil painting”. Gorgeous cinematography marry an epic score by Hans Zimmer that I listen to while working often. Every performance and scene in this movie are perfection to me.
I AM LEGEND
I could take or leave the World War Z-like hopped up zombies in this, but the location is jaw dropping. Will Smith’s character is the lone surviving resident in Manhattan, where nature is starting to take back over. The shots of an overgrown Times Square that had wild animals running free was visually intoxicating.