Rembrandt Quiballo’s installation Strange Days will take you on a journey through vague, cinematic imagery created through the lens of a Polaroid camera. Using 600 Instant Film, the artist has taken direct snapshots of the infamous “black mirror” that we all know all too well. The colors shown on each Polaroid are saturated not just from the film itself, but because the only light that the camera is capturing is that being emitted from the television screen. Quiballo has covered up the Polaroid’s flash, creating an unnatural palette with ominous undertones. As you walk into the space, you are immediately consumed in a sea of images, many of which seem familiar. Some you may recognize, like the woman from Scream that can be seen on a photo, but as they are removed from their original context, each image becomes almost unrecognizable. By removing them from pop-culture, the artist unifies each image into one organic, ambiguous mass.
We are overloaded visually with photo after photo, much like we are bombarded everyday with images from the media, television, and cinema. Quiballo explains that our consumption of images create a rift in their natural hierarchy. He states, “In our current visual experience, and explosion contrived in an action film made by Hollywood becomes equivalent to an explosion captured by the new in Iraq.” Our exposure to these visuals causes a disconnect in reality; staged and real violence becomes the same. Living in an age where we can binge watch TV shows through venues like Netflix or Hulu, the viewer becomes emotionally connected with the characters. The people and stories become a part of our life, our reality.
Quiballo’s work interprets the mass media as a visual form that infiltrates our consciousness, interrupting our memories and experience with a different reality. The artist finds inspiration from early memories of films and television, which have impacted his view on the world.