March 27, 2007
On Monday, March 26th at Brookens Auditorium on UIS campus, Matt Schultz presented his artwork and his politics with a lecture entitled "Matt Schultz: Dangerous Correlations, My Art and My Politics". With a crowd of about 40 people, consisting of primarily art students with ages ranging from 20 something to what we can considered our elders, Matt asked questions and pointed out erosive similarities.
Mr. Schultz began the presentation with a youthful picture of himself working on World War II models. His thoughts while putting them together were not of war, but snapshots of events. He later came to the realizations that things were not quite as they appear.
Matt continued throughout life to perform music with several acts, including Pigface and Lab Report . He also developed his graphic design talents by editing for magazines such as the Illinois Times . Matt is fond of the power of symbols and his work through the years shows this.
With works like "Suspension", showing the correlation between the brainwaves of serial killers and doctors or "The Infinite Universe", Matt can branch away from print with ease.
In walks "W ". The 2000 presidential election "stolen" from Al Gore angered Matt, but after Gore conceded, Matt moved on. Activism has always been a passion for Mr. Schultz, and this passion was intensified by a particular event. One with symbolism on an epic scale.
A small picture was shown. Not so clear. Then it was magnified ... two towers with smoke coming out of one and an explosion from another ... then another picture and another. September 11, 2001. This catapulted Matt into the world of Dangerous Correlations. This was viewed as a massive symbol along side of its numerical date 9-11.
The problem with sculptures and paintings being limited to a gallery troubled Matt. He strove for a means to get an idea out to as many people as possible. Just how fascistic has our government become? Political bumper stickers showing W '04 on gas guzzling SUV's was humorous to Matt until he saw similarities with the "W " from neo-Nazi propaganda standing for white power.
Matt decided to test how strong symbolism is, in particular the symbol of the "W". By taking the "W" and putting it on a red flag with a white circle and sending it to photostamp.com , he discovered how serious things have become.
Photostamp.com is a website where you can submit a photo to be placed on a legitimate stamp that you can then put on a letter to act as postage. Needless to say the red rectangle with the white circle and black "W" was too strong a symbol for photostamp.com to accept. He tried re-submitted the design without the "W" and it came back rejected once more. They then accepted a picture of a tree.
Matt prompted to create his own stamps, everything from the "W" flag to morphed WWII and modern propaganda. These stamps are his 2 cents to what is taking place in this country and around the world.
From the eagle, to the letter "W", to the cross and then the swastika, Matt showed the audience just how powerful and universal such symbols are in human history.
The questions posed to the crowed was, just how fascistic has this country become? He pointed out 14 examples a fascist government exudes. Everything ranging from sexism (homophobia) to antisemitism (Arab's are a semitic people) to false flag terrorism, can be seen in our own country as of late. Are we fully fascist? Not quite, but where do we as citizens of the greatest country in the world draw the line?
The stamp project that could be considered counterfeiting was not Matt's stopping point even thought he stopped receiving mail for a while due to his artwork being sent back to him by his peers. His "Patsy Project" is something that may or may not exempt him from being blamed for any wrongdoing. The package contains everything from hair samples, to voice samples and even digital photographs of Matt with his arm extended which could be manipulated into any security photo.
The dangerous correlations presented in Matt's work is shocking to the point where one asks themselves "how could we not have seen this before". Everything from the Nazi's portrayal of the "Jew" resembling the famous picture of Osama bin Laden to the pictures of Abu Grahib's infamous hooded men linked to WWII posters portraying Nazi tactics.
The work of Matt Schultz is thought provoking, revealing and relevant for anyone to digest. The open forum afterwards brought out many questions not only for the presenter, but for ourselves. What is next? What can we do to curb this trend? How have we let it get this far? Is the current administration nationalists or international capitalists?
See Matt Schultz's art work at www.mattschultz.com .