Magenta Plains – March 2017
The focal point of Cult Trash is Darst’s eleven minute video, The Tourist: This Machine Makes Fascists, which blurs the line between virtual, apocalyptic video gaming and youtube footage chronicling of real-life Doomsday Preppers who build elaborate bunkers to maintain their survivalist delusion. While not functioning as a direct sequel to earlier work, The Tourist: This Machine Makes Fascists reuses 3D avatars from earlier videos using prosumer software that has since been updated, rendering the same textures and movements familiar in structure but upgraded in their visual interface.
Taking inspiration from conspiracy theory and the media aesthetics of online subcultures, Darst relishes in the ways that digital space and the architecture of post-disaster become a playground for extremism. His exploration of the paranoid subject position examines globalist conspiracies, such as the illuminati and reptilian government takeover. In doing so, Darst highlights the reflexivity of internet communities that adopt the look and feel of fantasy gaming culture to describe real world scenarios.
Drawing on a wide range of sources from illuminated manuscripts to the digital abstraction of CGI explosions in the films of director Michael Bay, Darst explores the construction of ideology through images. As conspiracy theories become increasingly mainstream, we are reminded that the signature aesthetic of contemporary propaganda can be traced back primarily to the invention of the thriller genre of filmmaking and it’s subsequent manipulation to various ideological ends. Darst’s work exposes the circular relationship between visual culture and our understanding of reality. – Olivia Smith