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Thread To Break The Forum Silence



Congrats on graduating! What did you do to that truck? :slight_smile:


But the truck… looks like you had a lot of anger that needed to be worked out.
Or, always preferable: art.


Have you seen student debts these days? :joy:

Yep - congratulations from me too - no matter what no one can ever take that qualification away from you now - it’s a defining aspect of your character forevermore :smiley:

More info about the truck would be good!


Thanks everyone!

The truck: this is about as archetypally “American” as I get. Once a year I get out of the city and head to a remote-ish location with a group of friends for some catch-up and R’N’R. This year, as a grad present, they hauled a totalled truck up to a quarry for some good ole’ fashion target practice. It was a total surprise, and they placed the truck back in October. Another member of the group mixed a number of binary explosives using Amonium Nitrate and Aluminum (otherwise known as Tannerite, which you can purchase in sporting goods stores here). This time he DIY’ed it and made them quite large. They explode on direct hit by a high-velocity rifle round. I’m not a gun owner, probably never will be, and am highly-sensitive to the gun control topic here in the US, but I do partake in recreational shooting once a year.

@laborcamp @kel – all of the above :slight_smile:


Good lord! I would have thought buying ammonium nitrate explosives in Amercia in this day and age would lead to a very quick visit by various of the representatives of the police state.

I was going to ask what sport uses explosives but a quick scan of the youtubes suggests that “blowing up trucks’n’things with tannerite” is a fairly widespread American sport in and of itself!


My guess is the manufacturer might have a loop-hole by selling the two ingredients as separate which are later mixed together, but I really wouldn’t know–I’m not really an enthusiast aside from a once/year thing.




Hehe @Joe

@tomk I mean I get the before and after photos, but where’s the video?


@kel I can make that happen :slightly_smiling_face:


Of course, would like to see - who doesn’t like explosions, surely we have all seen James Bond and other similar films; having said that I am not into actually blowing things up or shooting at them myself either, travelling in Cambodia presented plenty of opportunity to fire very heavy weapons and detonate large scale explosives, for a price. I already knew I wasn’t into it - but visiting Toul Sleng and the Killing Fields confirmed that beyond any doubt - the connections are all too strong and disturbing which is what I think you were saying in your post about the state of things in the US now, but I totally understand the idea behind your yearly ritual - especially this year being such a big year for you - it’s probably really healthy in some respects :slight_smile:


I also went on a little journey around youtube looking at these things and found this:

I can’t say as there’s ever a valid reason to make/own guns, but if there could be one, this might do it, it’s beautiful - if only all guns were only ever used to make art like this!

The camera equipment used is ridiculously impressive - how many frames per second?

Perhaps most interesting for us here is the sounds that are created, this is crazy, skip to ~6:00 for a sonic treat:



Wow, that must have been some impressive explosions - how did you get the wreck back out of the the woods after that and to the next junkyard?


Those cavitation explosions (aside from the actual cordite ones!) are strong. The impact on eardrums underwater, even with foam ear protectors, must be significant. :astonished:


I agree that the underwater footage is cool.

But as I say it (or think it) I also feel a distinct unease about it. As an artist and a teacher, I continue to check my own reactions to important issues. In this case I am experiencing some internal red flags that force me to confront ideas of our (mine) addiction to violence. Inability to escape the seduction of it. AND, as an artist and a teacher, I feel a certain responsibility to give these questions a voice. (As in: saying nothing is not an option).

So, just wanted to say it.

And, since my language of choice is art, I do want to bring out the amazing Propeller Group, and one of their projects that critiques similar issues:


I must admit I felt a little uneasy about the cavalier waving of the barrel of the weapon about upon surfacing from the water, and indeed the opening shot of the rifle casually slung on the shack wall…but we must be careful not to conflate ownership of guns with adddiction to violence and/or recognise the particularly virulent and abhorent cultural relationship with guns and violence held by the US. There are plenty of coutries in the world (Norway, Canada, Iceland, Germany, Austria to name a few edit: not to mention Finland who has some of the highest gun ownership rates in the world but some of the lowest crime rates) who have relatively high rates of legal gun ownership who do not have nearly as toxic a relationship with them as does the US.

When I was a child we had a shotgun behind the school door to shoot snakes which threatened the children!

What is telling in much of the rhetoric about gun violence in the US is that very little attention is given to it’s export. 10 people killed in a US mass shooting garners internation media attention whereas 40 killed by the US military in a “colateral damage” bombing of a wedding party barely rates a mention.

Those ballistic gel pieces are very intersting…they could almost represent audio waveforms, no?


Absolutely - they are also stunning!

Personally, I don’t really want to get into a debate about the rights and wrongs of guns here, I think we are all of one mind or at least closely aligned - if other folk want to fair enough I am not saying don’t do it, I will just end up becoming really angry and I don’t need to focus on that right now.

I am interested in how this presents itself as art though - these images are amazing. It’s good we feel unease, to me this is what art is - it makes us think again.


Whilst I agree this isn’t the place for such a debate, there’d have to be some consideration of the irony of the disjunct between



I’m not taking the piss, or singling you out @kel, as I think these kinds of conversations do have a tendency towards devolution (although I have a high opinion of the capacities of the community here in regards to averting that kind of thing), but it’s interesting that we (and as I say, I feel it too) feel we should not have the kind of conversation that art is designed to have!

…and yes, stunning sculptural forms from the Propeller Group.


No irony intended, quite the opposite; I was fully aware of what I was saying and it was 100% intentional, that is to say thinking about these things is not the same as talking about it on a forum :wink:

I would go as far to say, that because of the capacities of the community, it’s redundant to talk explicitly about it, it’s enough just to give pause for thought, again.


Copy that!


I would agree with Kel though. This sort of political discussion really feels out of place here, even in the thread to break the forum silence thread.