Karl Erickson-We Could Be Transcendent Apes videos

We Could Be Transcendent Apes (second trailer)


We Could Be Transcendent Apes (Self Negation)


Transcendent Ape (Meditation)


Forget Your Youth

Through the cypher of the sci-fi B-movie “Robot Monster,” We Could be Transcendent Apes is an exploration of the drive to evolve one’s own and one’s species current state of being. Taking the titular “Robot Monster” and rave culture as starting points, Transcendent Apes follows the monster’s quest to reach outside of its destructive programming, and through (mostly unrealized) utopian ideals of rave party culture. The  project features videos of the creature passing through phases of enlightenment. In the original film, the monster is sent to Earth to destroy humankind. It falls in love with the last remaining woman. The monster challenges his overlords, pleading that he be permitted to transcend its programming. In the end, its attempt at evolution are thwarted: spurned by the object of his affection and ultimately destroyed by his masters. Rave cultures espousal of the  rejection of mainstream cultural, of losing oneself through dance and its embrace of evolutionary language is a fruitful analog for the journey of the monster.

The project features videos of the creature passing through phases of enlightenment represented through his actions in different landscapes, including Governor’s Island, spaceships and the Arctic. Each landscape is symbolic of a stage of the monster’s journey. These elements are combined with text and abstract imagery to create nonlinear narratives.

This project is produced partly during residencies at The Arctic Circle and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space Residency at Building 110 at Governors Island.