Icelandic artist Philip Ob Rey creates haunting visions that land somewhere between the dark, surrealist landscape dreamed up by William Blake and Gustave Moreau and the post-apocalyptic future looming in our subconscious anxieties and nightmares. From far away, his shadowy figures resemble the dark cousin of Game of Thrones' White Walkers. But upon closer look, the hulking beasts become slightly familiar, their physical anatomies suddenly resembling the remnants of a rejected memory drawer.
Ob Rey's photographed sculptures are assembled from VHS rolls, as well as all the memories, outdated technology and wasted information tangled up in them. The faceless creatures, like the stuff they're made from, combine old recollections and not-so-new media to form a haunting vision outside of time and place.
"We are building the perfect 'human,' far from the writings of Nietzsche, but maybe more feasible," Ob Rey explained in an email to The Huffington Post. "I just created a possible visual of it. I built creatures made of VHS, covered with a black toxic skin, a chaotic flesh of magnetic encoded images, dreamlike and disfigured in reaction against the growing dictatorship of mass media and the unstoppable plastic pollution due to the overconsumption of new technologies."
Ob Rey combined the VHS rolls with feathers, stones, shells, and dry seaweeds culled from the Icelandic landscape and photographed the anonymous monsters amidst its most shadowy spaces. Captured amidst fog and sand in black and white, the eerie sculptures seem to have materialized from their surrounding environment, amalgamating natural and unnatural ingredients into a frenzy of flurrying darkness.
Aside from haunting your dreams for the immediate future, Ob Rey's photographs and the dark worlds housed within them pose a daunting possibility for our environment's future. "I think this is going to be one of the biggest challenges of the coming decades: the pollution due to the obsolete material is growing up so fast that the world can't really handle it. In an aesthetic way, I wanted to stage the darkness, keeping in mind the gap between the picture, what is pictured and the reaction of the viewer."
So, next time you contemplate upgrading your iPhone or digitizing all your VHS tapes, just imagine these bone-chilling giants roaming your neighborhood, and perhaps you'll opt for a more sustainable option. "I hope people will be more aware of this unstoppable 'race of Evolution,'" Ob Rey said, and "be more careful of the destruction of our habitat, and see that from very dangerous, poison material we can build a dreamlike, modern forest."
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