A Process Note
AK Series is an excerpt from a set of compositions that were my part of a recent collaboration with a poet. The poems moved around an idea of perfect, metaphysical kinds of crime. For my contribution, I created a series of sixty-five unique compositions using the same source image: a pristinely dismantled AK-47. But instead of conveying the power and fatalism of such a perfect weapon, a ‘gun that never jams,’ these compositions re-cast the AK-47 as an object of curiosity and impotence, ache and absence. In a quiet way, the compositions form a horrible aftermath, a broken echo of how death became automated during WWI and how many art movements of the same era were founded on the veneration of technology, speed, industrial materials, and in the case of Futurism, war. AK Series tries to pull off its own perfect, though physical, crime: a heist or hijacking of the viewer’s expectations in order to let her question how ideas and drives from the early twentieth century are still echoing through design, art, and everyday life in the twenty-first.
Joshua Unikel works at the intersection of visual and literary art. He has shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; DesignPhiladelphia; Griffith University Art Gallery (Brisbane); and elsewhere. His work has appeared in Western Humanities Review, Essay Review, The Journal, Sonora Review, The Collagist, and other national journals. He teaches graphic design at The University of Houston’s Kathrine G McGovern School of Art.