Shootin’ range traps, “Holy F-K’s” and claps in THE GREAT UNREAL.



Shootin’ range traps, “Holy F-K’s” and claps in THE GREAT UNREAL.


By Doug Rickard, ASX, March 2010

Into the wind, and the never-ever-end of the great-wide-open beckons… so off you go and it gusts in ear and it whispers, “have no fear”. Down the road you fly… pulled forward as the dust lights your way and you follow the dust like a beacon into the rear view mirror of the sky.

And the blazing sun burns on your cheeks and your smile shrieks… and you spin around to the glorious sound. The sizzle of the wires are a symphony ¬†and the earth hears it and sings right along. Hmmmmm, hmmmmmm, hmmmmm… bzzzzz, bzzzzz, bzzzzz…


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And you float on up to a faded blue sky on a leaf -connected to a branch-connected to the arm of a towering giant who holds you high. Look at those houses beloooooowwwww, whoooosh, down we go as the sky cracks! We shooooosh down on color and sound… and we land, oh so grand! Pop, pop, pop and we skip and we hop… down another path baby… off we go, and we’re connected to the flow.

“The Great Unreal” beckons.

‘Cause them UFO’s are a callin’, them trailer parks and them empty malls… the sun splots and the red dots and the bluebird cries and electric-metal-highs. Them drive ins and them NUCLEAR bomb cadillac fins! Blast my face with Budweiser and mace – get me movin’ cause I gotta keep on groove-in! Shotgun shells and them “Gawd Damn Hells!” and antlers and trucks and freight trains and ducks and shootin’ range traps and “Holy F-K’s” and claps!

Now I lay me down to sleep, into the dirty motel we creep… into the bed – GET SOME ¬†zzzzzzz’s in my head… sleep some sheeps in my cave, dreams of canyons and “JESUS SAVES”.

Now we’re up again in the sky on a BIG MAC high. We’re rushin’ down on an upside-down-frown, past the DINOSAUR town, past that WHITE POWER hound! past the JUMBO MORTGAGE clown! through the DRIVE-THROUGH-DRUG on that marijuana BUG.

Follow me out there baby into “THE GREAT UNREAL”.


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In the book, “The Great Unreal”, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs have taken American Landscape and all of its vast array of interlinked details and massive wide open spaces and trompe l’oeil’ed them into a spider web of connected submission. They have turned the landscape inside out and let you see what-it-is-that-couldn’t-be.

This tale is like your dream… not every dream but the special dreams… the ones with all of those vast details that are exquisite and clear while you are in it but then you wake up and as you try to imagine the details and convey them to your lover, they all slip away just a bit out of reach. You know that the places are there, you were there… vast and complex, you were in there with them and you could see the vastness and “the connections”… but then, as you try to look into your minds eye and navigate the vision in your head, the storyline gets all jumbled up and the connecting fabric is much too complicated to remember.

And how the hell are you supposed to put into words something that a hundred thousand words couldn’t possibly describe anyway? You can try to spit out some pitiful impotent words but you can’t do squat compared to what you saw and so, you just leave it then with your feeling, and your knowing… your feeling of “the vast plot” and world somewhere in there… deep inside your head.

Pick this one up. It’s one of “the ones”.



The Great Unreal.
Photographs by Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs.
Editions Patrick Frey, 2009. 148 pp., Color and black & white illustrations, 9×13″.


(All rights reserved. Text @ Doug Rickard. Images @ Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs.)

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