Forcefield, an artist collective that began in 1996 in Providence, Rhode Island, has forged an aesthetic program that encompasses music, performance, installation, textiles, printmaking, and video. All activities are anonymous and group-oriented, and the collective's members go by inscrutable aliases. Members P Lobe and Meerk Puffy founded Forcefield as a two-man band, and were later joined by Gorgon Radeo and Le Geef, at which point the four broadened their scope and range of media.
Three of the four Forcefield members were among the inhabitants of Fort Thunder, a 9,000 square-foot living space in Providence, which was furnished with layer upon layer of found detritus. Live events hosted at the space included music shows, craft fairs, indoor fireworks displays, cookie bake-offs, radio plays, costumed wrestling matches, garden competitions, bicycle repair, and Halloween mazes. Forcefield's work is situated within this disparate and self-contained cycle of creation and exhibition, and continues to employ a healthy disregard for disciplinary boundaries.
The videos operate on several levels simultaneously, with a sensibility that oscillates between utter seriousness and a sublime form of deadpan. Goofball humor and a sense of menace may arise at the same moment. The group is also concerned with technology's uses and abuses, and throughout their work they employ vintage analogue signal-processors and defunct electronics. This strategic emphasis on "low" forms and formats, poor signal resolution, and willful crudeness reflects the ambivalence of a generation deluged with electronics and rapidly-obsolescing consumer equipment. Similarly, some of their more fantastical narrative conventions and science fiction references, no matter how abstracted, mark a complex relation to the framing devices of television. Ultimately, Forcefield has constructed a conflicted, decaying symbology, a patchwork aesthetic that collapses the neo-primitivist and the futurist into a vision that could have been crafted from the detritus of a post-nuclear future, even as it draws on the recent past and the post-industrial present.
Forcefield began in 1996 in Providence, Rhode Island. The first two members, who use the pseudonyms P Lobe and Meerk Puffy, started drawing and then playing music together. They created handmade, silk-screened show announcements and cassette covers, performed in colorful, patterned afghans that often covered their bodies and faces, and produced film and video work to project during performances. Forcefield soon became a four-member outfit when Gorgon Radeo and Le Geef merged their areas of interest.
Forcefield's art work has been exhibited at the Institute for Contemporary Art, London; the Daniel Reich Gallery, New York; Space 1026, Philadelphia; Art Basel Miami; Museo de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Tate Britain; and the 2002 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among other venues.
Forcefield is currently vacationing in the Bermuda Triangle.