This series explores the cultural symbolism and effects that gang culture invokes on surroundings, referencing both the tangible and intangible.
The artist sought to separate the individual from the gang in order to discover its etymology; researching crime stories within the local area, Kaia Lee found mug shot images of criminals, laser engraved them into plexiglass, and then laser cut audio recordings of the crimes associated with the criminal: gunshots, car alarms, and so on. The sound files were collected and composed by Luciano Flor Vacondio, SCAD Sound Design student. These plexiglass pieces were then transfer printed with images of the gang as a whole, and then the sound data from each crime was woven through the laser cut apertures denoting the sound files. Using a heat press, these pieces were then bent and melded into fluid fabric shapes, referencing the manner in which bandanas would move. Thus, individual members become divorced from their original identity, blurring into one another, into a common entity, bound by their common thread of violence. This abstracted and brief glimpse into gang culture, only discernible through title and color association, give the viewer minute glimpses of small characters within a larger story and culture.
Author: Nikki Kaia Lee
Institutions attended: Savannah College of Art and Design
Tutor: Jessica Smith