Jon Clark’s Spectrum Hunter explores the canon of nonsensical logic as presented to youths through video games, comic books, cartoons and other assorted low-budget media. Narrative and episodic mediums such as these often take a casual attitude toward their depiction of physicality and emotion. Roll-playing video games and Japanese cartoons especially, often throw common sense out the window in favor of the supernatural. The rate at which this media can be churned out leads to watered-down storytelling, relying on custom-manufactured tropes, eye-candy and surprise twists to keep kids interested. Spectrum Hunter explores the world of mass-marketed B-quality entertainment and its deep wealth of mediated and ambiguously related themes and tropes, a world that has built a filmic language of its own. Spectrum Hunter supplements the exploration of these narrative themes with a visual exploration of low-budget or no-budget graphic design, character design and set design. Jon takes pleasure in replicating the careless graphic work of artists who designed packaging for dirt-cheap products and media, for which the artwork and actual content was almost implicitly unimportant: the goal being to create another product, a serial continuation of a thing which was ambiguous and derivitive in the first place. He is inspired to pay homage to what could be termed a nominal aesthetic. Spectrum Hunter elevates the half-assed design, dialogue and visual language of no-budget commercial media and storytelling to an art-form, simultaneously becoming a part of and further confusing the incestuous family of garbage-quality entertainment for preteens. Final Fantasy meets Mortal Kombat in live-action form, with dialogue straight out of an exceptionally dramatic episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! It is a perverse exercise to lovingly and accurately represent and amalgamate an entire world of heartless media, and one which Clark has performed with some amount of discipline.

by Jesse Hulcher

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