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Christopher Moore

The Cuddle Commandos


January 3 – February 3, 2012

Vernissage: January 12, 5–7 p.m.

Exhibition description

Using humor and satire to address notions of hyper-masculinity, an army of "citizen anti-warriors" will recruit from the audience to the "Cuddle Commando." Pink flocking-covered "artillery" will fill the vitrines. A series of performances, will also take place in the vitrine space, which will be turned into a "recruitment office" where a squadron of approximately 15  "Cuddle Commando" will recruit new troops. The public is asked to fill out a recruitment form and sign a pledge, appropriating military recruitment procedures. The new members of the Cuddle Commando are then asked to spread the philosophy which this humour-infused performance is meant to bring about, using misdirection to draw attention to the male-driven world of military force we have become so accustomed to in today's culture.

Moore's recent body of work functions as a direct response to the dangerous social construct of the “citizen warrior”—a means by which culture adopts the rhetoric and psychic burden of militaristic codes. From yellow magnetic ribbons on mini-vans to designer camouflage fatigues, the language of combat has become normalized and is actively exhibited within North American culture. A clear example can be evidenced in the ubiquitous appearance of the phrase “support the troops,” which has transitioned from political mantra to commercial slogan—a powerful sleight of hand used to distinguish political affiliations. Everyday citizens are largely encouraged to internalize and parrot this oversimplified model of conflict, lest one is viewed as anti-nationalistic or worse, supportive of terrorist activities. While propaganda has a long tradition of either pacifying or emboldening communities, there now exists greater levels of sophistication and misdirection, as a direct result of media proliferation and expanded modes of public dissemination.

The Cuddle Commandos and Passive Passive Pink projects aim to develop alternative models of combat gear, used to counteract the dominant aggressive tendencies sublimated in typical camouflage patterns and military garb, which have since entered into the fashion lexicon. In a sense, Moore wishes to create an army of “citizen anti-warriors” whose role is to pacify culture, and to draw attention to the institutionalized military codes that go largely unchecked and unnoticed in daily life. The subtle intervention of “cute” domestic animals into the repeating camouflage patterns reveals itself only to keen observers. The resultant effect is both unsettling and seductive, setting up a paradoxical and disquieting relationship to our shared understanding of the alpha male soldier—the indestructible fighting machine. Cuddle Commandos refutes this gender and sexual bias, by allowing the soldier a shield of vulnerability, and by diffusing the hyper-macho mythology of the heroic warrior.

About the artist

Christopher Moore is a Montréal-based artist, designer and educator whose cross-disciplinary practice ranges from print publication to sculpture and media installation.  His creative research currently focuses on satire as a progressive form of social critique, utilizing performance and absurdist humour to engage media-savvy public audiences.  His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, and he has participated in artist residency projects throughout North America.  Moore has presented his scholarly research at internation conferences, including the College Art Associatoin (CAA), Design Research Society (DRS), Association typographique international (ATYPI), The Society for Enviroinmental Graphics Design (SEGD), and the Universties Art Association of Canada (UAAC).  For the past 12 years, he has taught at institutions across Canada and currenlty holds the position of assistant professor in design & computation arts at Concordia University.


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