See singer Claire L. Evans without arms and legs on the digital art platform, Electric Objects.
Founded in Portland and marinated in LA, sci-fi disco rock outfit YACHT have spent the last few months bending genres and concocting new media experinces to coincide with their new album I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler (Downtown). From site-specific tracks released inside of Ubers, to videos shot with ever-ascending drones, each project is inundated with the new technologies redefining the structure of civilization and our place within it. Their latest sees a collaboration with artist Luke Gilford (who also did their new cover art) and digital art platform Electric Objects.
Three looping artworks featuring Gilford's photos of YACHT co-founder Claire L. Evans have just appeared on the digital picture frame and art subscription service's exclusive Art Club. The images examine our relationship with smartphones, software, and the internet itself. One centers on a goddess-like, many-armed Evans set as a smartphone background. In another, she has no arms or legs, and is being endlessly blurred with a Photoshop brush. The one currently occupying our own EO1 features her face framed by the iconic bane of all internet users: the loading wheel icon. It goes on forever.
The series lifts the name of the new album, I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler. "Luke’s images are based on a concept he and I arrived to based on our shared interests, science fiction and the post-human form," Evans tells The Creators Project. "We were looking for an image that conveyed the future without becoming immediately dated—a common issue with stylized representations of the future, which can get camp quickly. So the idea was to make alien and post-human versions of me that twigged the ocular 'future' nerve without overstimulating it. Luke is a genius at those subtleties. He’s also just a genius."
After the photoshoot, fellow YACHT co-founder Jona Bechtolt elevated the images to EO's signature moving picture aesthetic. "Jona made the animations—the loading wheel, a warped Photoshop Clone Stamp, the iPhone Swipe To Unlock—as kind of a meta joke about the fact that images are files, that so much of our work in the cultural sphere is files about files about files. To put it differently, information about data, and vice-versa."
Their collaboration with Electric Objects has been in the works since the platform's early days. "We’ve been following EO since the beginning," explains Evans. "When they announced their Artist in Residence program last year, we pitched them on a project—unrelated to this one—to create a text-based narrative for the EO platform. That started a longer conversation about things we could do together, which we imagine will take many forms in the future."
In the past, they've taken the form of a Kanye West-themed Magic 8 Ball site called Kanye.am, the aforementioned track release via Uber, and an unveiling of I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler's cover art via mass fax. Evans has long-time voiced her insight and thoughts on the rapid techocratization of modern society on Motherboard, and she and Bechtolt recently gave Live Nation TV a tour of their sleek LA guide app, 5 Every Day.
The I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler EO series is just one example of how YACHT questions the current model for what a band should be in 2015. "YACHT is interested in how images are consumed in The Digital Age, not to be too insufferable," Evans says, wrapping up. In describing their mass-fax event, she hits the nerve of why this kind of experimentation is vital to contemporary art: "People were forced to experience a weird black-and-white, dithered version of the artwork, but they did it in a super-limited, one-on-one way, which is an increasingly rare experience."